His act in the face of the pandemic has transformative effects. It is about victory of hope over despair. With the help of his family, friends and colleagues, he led a movement to make a difference in the lives of those who had fallen on hard times.
Sonvir, who works as Procurement Manager at HCCB, was in an ebullient mood when he set out on his bike from Gurgaon, for his hometown. The idyllic surroundings of the countryside along the highway provided a wondrous setting. Everything seemed perfect and as per the script as he kept negotiating the route. But there was a twist in the plot that turned out to be a life altering experience for him. He soon noticed a stream of migrating workers and their families walking on the road to get home, hundreds of miles away. Some of them bare footed. It was clear that most were without money, food and shelter. Adding to their woes was the sultry sun. The odds of surviving the trauma were considerably skewed. Sonvir was shaken.
“It was a heartbreaking moment”, admits Sonvir with a mist in his eyes. As an immediate response he shared some biscuit packets with a few of them. That is all he had with him at that point of time. The plight of the poor workmen, however, kept haunting him even after he reached home. Feeling grim at such horrid sights he felt an urge to be of some service to those that had fallen on hard times. But how could he do it alone? The lockdown made the task even more difficult. Sonvir decided to take the challenges head on.
Without any further delay Sonvir reached out to people in his network. His sense of urgency with an expression of empathy endeared everyone to him. Response was overwhelming. “It was astonishing to see the way our community joined us in this endeavour”, recalls Sonvir about the support he received from people including the local administration, police officials and the village Pradhan.
“We just pulled up gloves and pulled into the roads doing what we felt was the right thing to do”, asserts Sonvir with a conviction of commitment to the cause. The immediate need was to serve food to all these migrants who were left stranded without any access to food or basic facilities. Hunger posed a bigger threat to their life than the pandemic. Soon, Sonvir and his friends and family members were preparing ration bags, each containing wheat, dal, rice, cooking masala and sugar to suffice the cooking needs of a family for a few days. The number of volunteers kept swelling by the hour. No wonder, they were distributing thousands of ration bags, every day.
Everyone in the team was passionately involved. The ladies in the group began to stitch quality face masks using cotton cloth. Some took the responsibility of ensuring everyone’s hands were sanitized. Some would take the temperature of volunteers before they started their day. And some generously contributed to the fund. Every little detail was planned and executed with love, precision and dedication. More importantly, everyone in the team was conscious of the fact that service is best rendered with love and kindness without hurting anyone’s dignity.
The word about their noble deeds started spreading. The local media also highlighted their contributions. But Sonvir remains a little philosophical about the entire experience, “What an irony that the experience which could be so rewarding for us was so devastating for some others.” Nevertheless, what Sonvir and his team did at the time of humanitarian crisis was indeed a triumph of human spirit.
The journey continues. Sonvir concludes the story, “We need to do a lot more.”