COVID-19 shattered the walls of superficial differences among people. Every person is equally susceptible to this disease and its social and psychological effects.
The lockdown implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19, left thousands of people stranded in the middle of nowhere without essentials. I was one among them when the country was put under lockdown on March 24, 2020. I was on the country tour for the promotion of my album and somewhere between Odisha and West Bengal on my bike, 3000 KM away from my home when the lockdown was announced.
I had all the money I could have needed to get myself a place to sleep or food to eat but in my bank account. I could not find even a single hotel, lodge or guesthouse to rest for a night. I did not have any cash on me, the ATMs were shut and my cards useless under such circumstances.
As I struggled to reach my home, I came across hundreds of people walking to reach their homes in the midst of the pandemic. With cities shut, they had lost their sources of income and had no reason to stay in the city or the means to reach their homes. All of them just trudged ahead in the hope of reaching the safety of their homes as was I.
When I reached the Maharashtra-Karnataka state border, I had the assistance of the police and CRPF forces who provided me with the means I needed to reach home. One of the CRPF personnel asked me if I had anything to eat. I said, “No”. He, then, gave me the food he had on him and said, “feed a poor soul in return of the food I am giving you!”.
This action and sentiment of a stranger, whose only duty is to implement the lockdown and ensure everyone’s safety, had an immense impact on me. After nine days of struggle without food, water, or sleep, I reached my home. Grateful to have a shelter, a bed, and enough food for myself, I thought of the thousands of migrant workers, who like me were trying to reach home away from hunger and struggle. I do not know if they reached their homes or not, or if the ones who managed to reach their destinations had food in their homes or not. I had the food I needed when I reached home, I only pray that all these people have the same.
I am extremely grateful for the services provided by the state and central government and to all the doctors, policepersons, and every individual working on the frontline to protect us all from COVID-19 as we do our part by staying at home.
As essential as it is for this lockdown to continue to contain the spread of the virus, we all need to stand together to get through this crisis. We who have the necessities and resources to make it through the present situation must extend a helping hand to the ones who are, now, left with nothing.
In a bid to do the same, I have teamed up with Smile Foundation, with whom I have worked numerous times for fundraising for social welfare, to raise funds to provide the underprivileged of the society with the rations essential for survival. Smile Foundation is also working relentlessly towards doing its part in providing relief to underprivileged people by providing them with dry rations. The kit will consist of food, medicines, soap, and sanitizer for people to maintain both health and hygiene.
The current circumstance requires us all to come together to help the most helpless overcome the difficulties alongside ourselves. Smile aims to not leave any individual behind in this fight against an invisible enemy through communal effort through awareness and aid.
I request every person capable of sparing anything to come forward and contribute to this cause. No amount is insignificant and every contribution will help a person suffering in these difficult times to make it through to the end of the tunnel.
To donate, please visit – https://www.smilefoundationindia.org/smile-fights-covid19-brand-tree/
*Views and experienced narrated in the blog are of Nitish Pires, Indian Film Music Director