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One Man Inspired Cyclists to Risk Their Lives & Deliver Essentials During Lockdown

Rajkummar Rao speaks to the Relief Riders of India who braved the risk of infection to deliver food and medicines to those in need.

While the streets of our country were deserted amidst the COVID lockdown, communities of cyclists were found zooming past – delivering food, medicines and hope to people.

They called themselves the ‘Relief Riders’, but some have come to identify them as “angels on bikes”.

Their journey began with Sathya Shankaran in Bengaluru, when for the first time a community of cyclists decided to use their skills to help families affected by COVID, in March 2020. Spreading across the country, this initiative went on to inspire many ordinary people.

In May 2021, Guwahati’s Arshel Akhter and his team of local cyclists shared a social media post announcing that they will deliver food and essential items to the elderly and people infected with COVID. The cause of the Relief Riders of Guwahati went on to attract 16 volunteers within the first two weeks itself. These heroes on wheels have braved the risk of infection to save people’s lives.

Seeing their limitations such as age, health, curfew and money, these cyclists consider themselves privileged enough to be able to help.

To appreciate the joint efforts of such COVID warriors, Spotify has launched a show called Ruk Jaana Nahi, hosted by Indian cinema actor Rajkummar Rao. The star host gets into conversations with ordinary citizens who went out of their way to help others during these trying times.

Their selflessness is creating ripples of hope and bringing people together under the solace of humanitarian care.

To commemorate this spirit, the video podcast opens with a poem written by lyricist Swanand Kirkire and recited by the host. This is followed by several audio and video stories of people who have found extraordinary ways to show strength in times of uncertainty.

Through a series of podcasts, Spotify aims to highlight some of the countless stories of hope, courage and compassion that have sprung to the surface during the pandemic.

Stream episodes of the podcast here.


This article has been published in partnership with Spotify.