By Keerthana Venkatesh
Contributing Author for Spark Igniting Minds
Ever since the coronavirus pandemic broke out and has been spread worldwide, there’s been a major shift in discussions, debates, and actions of the people. Everyone’s trying to be a helping hand in their own little ways – be it a homeless person living off the street but holding up his lantern during the nation-wide solidarity act, animal lovers fighting for their rights to feed street animals, restaurants providing free food for the underprivileged, people paying their domestic helps their full salaries despite their inability to come to work, or even those little Thank-yous with a smile to that check-out person at the grocery store.
But turn the pages of time and you’ll find that every time there’s been a crisis, people have always banded together like a force to reckon with. Even in times of nearly invisible social media when the Kargil war broke out, people across the country and Indians from overseas joined hands to help the government fund the living expenses of martyrs’ families.
Cut back to 1947 when India also fell victim to the bubonic plague. My octogenarian aunt was recounting those times when they were residing in Hyderabad. The plague, combined with India’s freedom struggle, created quite a difficult situation for many. Isolation, poor supply-chain, lack of choice of goods and terribly few communication channels practically disrupted everyone’s lives. Luckily for my paternal side of the family, they had a few milch at home. Despite being a huge family, my octogenarian aunt recounts, her mother insisted that they shared their production of milk with anyone who came by in need of it. If the family received the bare minimum to survive the day, that was all that they needed – the rest was to help others survive.
Cut to the current crisis. Even as non-essential goods retailers have shut shop and are facing the economic brunt, it’s just amazing to see how the store's next doors are helping them stay afloat. A dairy near where I stay has been selling wares from bakeries and snacks stores in the neighborhood without charging a commission, just out of goodwill. A supermarket has stocked one shelf up with stationery items from a neighborhood stationer. Another has been selling sweets made by a local favorite sweet stall.
But what’s more endearing is that people who would otherwise prefer visiting one of those supermarket giants in our street are actually making an effort to visit these smaller grocers and vendors just to help them sustain through these difficult times.
While people are out there talking about Chef Jose’s World Central Kitchen and all the wonderful ways it helps people affected by various crises around the world, these small acts by the common man is what reinforces our faith in compassion, humanity and in all great things that come in small packages and justifying that big things come in small capsules.
About the Author
Keerthana Venkatesh is a passionate writer with a penchant for positivism via thoughts, actions and alternative therapies.
She has worked on the editorial of some of India’s biggest media houses and as content management and marketing head in various corporates.
An avid traveler and a doting mother, she finds inspiration and the energy of positivism through places, people and her daughter which she showcases in her blog titled "This Short Story"!