Serving With Humility
The lockdown also meant complete ban on the entry of part-time helps inside residential complexes. Some residents were concerned about how they would manage daily household chores. Some were worried about the availability of essential food and grocery items. And, some were frowning about the overall cleanliness of the locality. But very few like Anoop Sharma spared some thoughts about how these daily wage earners would feed their family. After all, they live off what they earn each day.
Just a simple thought that their children could go to bed empty-stomach, Anoop reached out to these neglected grief-stricken families to offer them meals just outside his complex, ‘Parn Kuti’ near Ghandhi Nagar Police Station in Bhopal. He did not wait for any help from anywhere. He just put his hand in his pocket. He would take packets of freshly prepared food outside his residential complex and offer them to the sweepers and gardeners living in his neighbourhood. Initially only a couple of daily wage earners came but as the word spread 3 to 4 other labourers also started collecting the meals. Recalling those days, Anoop describes an incident with a lump in his throat, “One day, when we offered a packet of meal to a labourer, he immediately responded with tears in his eyes that my children are very hungry, and they will be delighted to see this meal.”
What is more heartening is that Anoop’s wife, Kanta was in the eighth month of pregnancy when the lockdown was announced. She continued to prepare meals for 5 to 6 daily wage labourers every day during the entire 21 day of the first phase of the lockdown. The good news is that Anoop and Kanta have recently been blessed with their second child, a baby girl. Appreciating her support Anoop says, “Kanta prepared food willingly and never complained of any uneasiness.” When asked to comment on his charitable work, the unassuming Anoop bends his head downwards and says with all humility, “In times like this nothing is enough for these underprivileged people who serve us throughout the year.” He goes on to add, “I feel it’s our duty to help these people who remain grossly neglected.” Anoop works as a Line Fitter in the factory of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, at Nimach in Bhopal.