Today, as we stand at Day 53 of our nationwide lockdown, we have withstood one of the toughest periods in the history of our country or the world, in a very long time. The economy has been shattered, a large part of our population has suddenly lost their jobs, either temporarily or some even permanently, and loss of life is happening in large number, first through Covid-19 and then through loss of livelihood (though this has yet to be documented officially).


It has been almost two months now that life as we know it has come to a screeching halt and taken everyone by shock. Restaurants, malls, shops, clubs, everything had to be closed. People were told not to meet each other or even step out of their homes. The entire travel industry just stopped overnight – aviation, railways, road travel, everything. In Mumbai, it is the only time ever since the start of the local trains that they have stopped for such a long duration. These unprecedented chain of events have naturally left us all feeling a little off-kilter, scared and anxious. It’s the first time in most of our lives that we have witnessed a global event like this that has spread like wildfire and affected the whole world at the same time. I guess it is one of the few disadvantages to the ease of connections we have across the world today – the same ease of connection assisted the virus also spreading across country borders within weeks. Today whether you are in India or the US or Europe, every business owner is going through a tough quarter, every daily-wage earner is unsure of where his next wage will come from, and every mother is struggling with the new world of e-schooling and managing the household and work all at the same time. It is all extremely overwhelming, and the fact that there is no clear end in sight is scary and depressing. It is in times like these that goodness of human beings plays such a huge part. A small act of kindness goes a long way and in these extreme times can make the difference between life and death for some.

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While there are some of us who can be grateful to be sitting inside our homes, eating comfort food and living a life of luxury, there are countless others who have camped in difficult conditions, or walked 1000s of miles to get home to their families and find themselves unsure of where their next meal is going to come from. There are many others who suddenly have school-going children stuck at home, for whom they are unable to afford one nutritious daily meal (that the Government usually provided them in school) or the electronic means to continue e-schooling, a privilege of a few.


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But humanity and the kindness of the human spirit has come forward to save the day or atleast make it more bearable. There have been countless examples of good deeds being done around the world, the country and in our city around us too. A few stories from around the world that really touched us, and were all super simple to do but changed the world of the people who were at the receiving end –


  • A family helped an elderly neighbor without internet access connect to their   Wi-Fi so she could keep in touch with her children while in quarantine.
  • Grocery stores set up special shopping hours just for medical workers to make sure they have a chance to get hard-to-find items like toilet paper.
  • A landlord texted their residents letting them know that their April rent was waived, and another even returned tenants’ security deposits so they’d have some extra cash on hand in this difficult time.
  • A young man took bread out of his own grocery cart to help an older couple that couldn’t find any.

None of them required the givers or doers to be very rich or have excess of anything. They just needed a big heart and a willingness to do and yet made such a huge difference in the lives of the recipients.

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More uplifting and positive stories from closer home –

  • Ayaz Faquih and Purushottamlal Gupta, auto-drivers from Maharashtra, went out of their way to help citizens amidst the clampdown, aiding their fellow drivers and construction workers by distributing ration kits for free, ferrying people in medical emergencies and frontline health workers for free, and helping NGOs distribute meals to the needy. “When I saw ailing people walking miles to visit the hospital opposite my house, I felt ashamed to see my three-wheeler parked when it could be used to ferry people. I immediately got permission from the police and started giving free rides to the sick and their families,” Ayaz Faquih tellsThe Better India (TBI).
  • During Lockdown 2.0, a street vendor had brought out her cart to sell some vegetables in the hope of making some money. A neighbour witnessed a police van stop and summon the vendor. But instead of reprimanding her, the police asked her about who all lived in her house and brought out some hot meals from their van and handed it to her.
  • On May 9th and 10th, local citizens of Vajjapur, in Maharashtra, pitched in with volunteer work giving the men and women engaged in frontline work to get a rare weekend break. Police constables were replaced by 80 volunteers at eight check posts. Under the supervision of just one government doctor each, the OPD at the Vajjapur sub-district hospital and six primary health centres were taken over by private doctors from the area.
  • An elderly farmer couple from Jodhpur, Rajasthan, identified most distressed families across 80 villages and set a target to help as many as 6000 families with dry rations and supplies. To do this they have spent their entire life savings worth Rs 50 lakhs without a moment’s hesitation.


Inspired by all these stories and the ripple effect they have in society, the team at Scift decided to do a Goodness challenge of our own. We are reaching out to everyone we know and asking them to do one simple deed of kindness, in any way, big or small, tell us about it and spread the word to 5 more people. If we can make a chain of kindness around us and keep it going, we can all emerge from this crisis much stronger and happier. We can help another person feel better about his day. And that’s all we need to do today at a time when we can do little else. Lets stay together, stay strong, stay happy and do good.