By: Aahana Kapoor
A few days ago I conducted the distribution of masks and soaps in sector 22 of Gurgaon, near Dundahera. I was accompanied by my sister and my mother. We started off by distributing supplies to the tribal women in the bastis nearby. Next we went to a nearby village where we first gave away the essentials to vegetable sellers and other vendors. After that we started handing over the supplies to the villagers. Once word about the distribution spread around , it started getting crowded. To continue the distribution in an orderly and disciplined manner, we requested the public to form queues while maintaining social distancing to ensure that everyone got a turn and no one was left out.
Here, I feel the need to add that people were very disciplined in the queue and took no more than the quantity we asked them to.
Amidst all this , an old lady came and started hitting the people in the queue with a stick she was carrying along with her. She started fallaciously arguing and preaching to the people of the village about how coronavirus is nothing but a myth. She shouted at the people passing by or running home to bring her a matchbox or lighter. She wanted to BURN THE SUPPLIES! Finally she took out a matchbox from her kurta and set fire on the boxes containing soaps and masks! The three of us felt helpless and moreover shocked to see what was happening before us. A man passing by on a bike told my mother that we should leave or this lady might damage the car or hurt us. What surprised me the most was how with so much happening, so many deaths taking place , this lady was still in denial. Also, how all those people she hit and those who witnessed it did not fight back. As we left that area I was heart wrenched, angry and experienced a wave of sadness. It pitched me that how could someone be this thankless. Our organisation has been working so hard to get supplies to distribute to the poor; knowing that we played a part in saving someone’s life makes us happy. But when you see the effort go into ashes (literally, in this case) , it pinches.
After we left , I felt let down, but we decided to distribute in another area, to vegetable sellers again. The first man we gave the supplies to responded by saying "This is what I have been waiting for, thank you , may God bless you". This melted my heart and made me rediscover the motive with which I was working. And made me realise that there are people who are thankful and grateful and are out there waiting for our help. And this is our message to them - We won't let you down!