‘Volunteering- by choice’

 “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?”

– Khushi.M and Kunjal.G

Both of us wanted to write about something else, find some other intriguing topic, or at least we tried to. In our country India, with the clicks of the second wave staring right at us, making itself evident every day, we could not depict our ignorance as we write. We write about some people, who deserve appreciation, however little or unreachable to them!

So, let us first reflect reality. Which is very important, because we cannot delusion into an exciting panorama of words. During the second wave, with more and more people losing their lives, and whole families being affected, there is hesitation to go near the body or carry the last rites of the person. Some are aggrieved by the high transport costs that ambulances are charging, looting away their money. Many are angry at the breakdown of the system, and the skyrocketing money they need to pay, to not lose someone. Turmoil is big, the situation is definitely severe, and yes, there is much more learning to be taken from this whole pandemic.

Certain people, despite being affected in a similar magnitude or worse, are emerging to undertake actions and helping families, to their capacity. If you take a look at the no. of recovered patients, they are an outcome of unhidden efforts however frail and failed, made by certain people to provide for instance to help the person get himself a hospital bed, or just arrange an oxygen cylinder, cremate body of persons, or simply provide meals.

But sometimes, the volunteers are not able to do so. The simple text message of a kin informing them about the demise, even though supplemented by a small ‘thank you’ must produce unbearable anguish. It was a wonder to both of us, how could they not cry all the time. Maybe, they just knew what their job was and what they had committed themselves to… They are the ones who do not seek credit. These are our volunteers. Volunteering by choice.

When we all are just completely indoors the only way to connect with people is via phones and social media.

“There is so much information, but so little information that holds value”, said a social media influencer. It is true that there have been hundreds of numbers and links shared on WhatsApp and Instagram groups. But how many are valid? 

Imagine trying numbers one by one associated with help but finding them ‘Busy’ or just useless. Nonetheless, the volunteers in social media are working to trace reliable information and contact patients who contacted them. Yes, they may not have taken the Hippocratic Oath, but they are ready to serve the people at odd hours even!

The same social media which earlier was considered as an affliction has also helped save lives to some extent via SOS calls, teleconsultation, and moderation to connect patients with medical supplies.

Apart from the ‘ online warriors ‘ several people are emerging engaging in last rite activities of the dead patients. Each of our religions and faiths have their own set of rituals, invoking a sensory belief that the person, who has died, should be cremated keeping in mind the beliefs and culture. But the lethal wave in our country has brought all people to the common ground, the situation is restraining them to perform even the last rites of the person. 

“”We are doing it for… mankind, for humanity. That’s all”

While such phrases hardly shake up any reality of sorts, hearing them from people, who are actually confronting a humanitarian crisis, they get a greater meaning. 

These people are attending the distressful calls of people and with the same hand, are forced to decline too. What can be the worst? 

But all the more, the realisation that it brought to both of us, was that people were stepping for each other, overarching all lines, be it through cheerful acts like adoptions or maybe as sad sounding as cremations and burials.

There is a group of Hindu, Muslim and Christian volunteers called ‘Mercy Angels’ in Bangalore, Karnataka who are providing support to poor families to help them transport bodies for cremations. They themselves prepare graves and perform last prayers according to the religious custom. People from different religious lines are teaming up to work across religious lines. 

And somehow, from reading about volunteers and Adoption NGOs and families, respite from this realisation, we could not shake away this thought, even if it lasts for only sometime.

Different volunteering groups are emerging sometimes, tapping into the skills of the members. Most of all, one does not need to accord to some ‘check- list’ to be a volunteer. The only requirement will be that you actually want to do what you are doing. And sometimes it amounts to just a little effort! Our senior members, are organising sweet musical and bhajan sessions, bringing jolly and gay. Even children are using the crocodile tears technique to keep our fidgeting parents under control. For them of course!!

Overall, people are stepping up when now they cannot possibly rely on the elected folks. These are our silent workers– our volunteers and doctors. They do not complain, they just do it. As for whom? They would say for Humanity.


Hey bloggers and everyone like comment and share😊 if you feel the same.

A Nightmare that changed me

” Mom and I need to work faster to turn up our frowns. Even reluctantly!”

10 May 2021                                                                                                     9:30 p.m.

Dear diary,

‘Haar haar kar jeetne wale ko he toh baazigar kehte hain’.

Today my dad called me, and these were the first words he said. He went silent (as usual) expecting some tears. But he was shocked because I started speaking. In a normal tone.

The call lasted for some half an hour. It was the longest call we made since he got admitted to the hospital. Anyways he asked me how my studies were going. I told him how much inconvenience it is for me to wake up at 7 for my classes. And he pointed out that it was too late. 

Our conversation went like that – me cracking silly jokes and him resuming his daddyish– sarcasm! 

As soon as I hung the call, I went in front of a mirror. After 12 whole days I saw my reflection with a lopsided smile. My dad must have smiled too, I betcha! I did not cry this time while talking about his illness. Shocking, to hear I bet ! Well after all those emotional hopeless abrupt notes of course! 

Only I knew the reason behind this smile. My nightmare.

Last night I saw us attending a funeral. Me and my mum. My dad’s funeral. The previous day we had called him. It was a relatively short one, I could see. Me and mom just cried for a few minutes. He said he would be fine. And the call ended. And apparently the next day so did his life. 

I woke up with my body shivering today, as I came back to reality……

It was the similarity between the call we made in the dream and the previous ones that followed up to our call today.

Each day every day, we would ring him up and just stay dispirited. Out of sheer fear? Who would not? It was a relief he got admitted but still uncertainty remained.

You know, the thing about us people is that we have many fears. Our fears cannot be locked inside some bottle. The biggest fear of the many? The fear of loss..

It is human to feel scared when my family suffers isn’t it? Because I realised how much the fear of losing dad can make me panic stricken.

Our family is quite normal, you know. We do not have special outings every now and then. But even the very bland looking moments, now feel close to my heart.

I am not ready to lose him. Not yet. Cause well he is my dad. 

I now understand that he would want us to be optimistic. 

Both of us, perhaps should not greet him like a patient at the peril but rather a soldier marching into a battlefield. We have to allow him to go happily in the battle for 17 days and greet him with salutes. Mom and I need to work faster to turn up our frowns. Even reluctantly!

This will be a hard way for us. But sometimes it is the hard way,isn’t it?

Certainly,myriad medicines may provide him the physical resurgence but during such times,I think me, and my mom only have the capability to provide the enthusiasm and emotional will to live; and that can be a major weapon in my dad’s armoury don’t you think? 

Dear diary,all the shivers I felt after seeing that nightmare helped me perceive that this time, we must try to replace our tears with smiles because if viruses are contagious then so are smiles.

And that dear diary was why today’s call was different!  I betcha he will recover!


Hey readers, we all are feeling very low spirited these days! Most of us can relate to this girl above. What better way to tell thoughts of fear to a trusted confider. For this girl it is her diary. And if this girl can decide to stay optimistic and endeavour to turn up a  smile then then maybe we can do too. Even if it is too hard. Both of us are from India. We encounter disappointing press releases and news of loss on a daily basis from people around us. But still, why did we write this? To find a deliberate reason to keep our smile intact for others. Even if it originates from the worst of fears. _______________________________________________________________________________________________