by Kunal Bodwade
2020 was a crucial year and many lives took a drastic turn. All because of an unforeseen pandemic that no one was ready for. Even the nations that claimed themselves a superpower, failed to safeguard the life of their citizens. India was no exception. Millions of helpless people were at the mercy of nature and destiny, waiting for a miracle to save them. This is the story of one such miracle.
Fear dwelt in everyone’s heart that if they stepped out, they would probably end up in a hospital and fail to meet their loved ones again. But some fools, that’s what others safely ensconced in the comfort of their homes preferred to call them, took it upon themselves to fight with their bare hands and loads of never say die spirit. To me, they were the real superheroes wearing masks and PPE kits in the form of medical practitioners, law enforcement personnel, and faceless volunteers who stood up like a strong wall against the deadly first wave of adversity and made the country stand on its feet again.
Atharva Pangave, Yash Deshpande, and Hrishikesh Joshi students of Journalism and Mass Communication, Vishwakarma University, are all your boy-next-door types. But their feat is nothing short of an achievement.
When the opportunity came knocking to serve in a nearby quarantine center, the three of them without so much as batting of an eyelid grabbed it with both their hands. Narrating about the day they stepped into the center, Hrishikesh says, “We felt like we were heading for some big mission and that the whole nation was cheering for us”. “We are training to be media professionals and while working as volunteers we realised what our faculty meant by dealing with raw emotions”, added Atharva, “there were many patients of different age groups and the most difficult task was to calm them down and provide comfort to those who were scared”. Yash said, “Our main job was to take a note of their body temperature and oxygen level and give this report to the doctor on daily basis, and also look after their food, medicines, hygiene, and sanitation.”
“The job in the quarantine center was not an easy part to play wearing the PPE kits throughout the day. One had to be mentally and physically prepared as the quarantine period lasted for 21 days, away from friends and family.” Hrishikesh recalled, “We volunteered for the first 14 days followed by 7 days of compulsory quarantine. We took the covid test on the 6th day of quarantine. Only if the results were negative we could go home but still had to maintain some distance from family members.”
The risks were big. But as I said, only idiots can think of creating miracles. All for a greater cause. To change the destiny of a nation.
About the Author:
Kunal Bodwade is a student of Journalism & Mass Communication, BA, Third Year, Vishwakarma University Centre of Communication for Development, Pune. His article was short-listed as an entry in the Empowerment Story Competition organised in December 2020 by the University.