Kolkata, May 13 : Recently Trinanjoy Bhattacharyay, a resident of Behala in the southern fringes of the city, got an SOS early in the morning: "Please help me. My uncle and aunt are dying. Oxygen saturation level has fallen beyond 80." The caller was the couple's nephew who lives in Murshidabad district - nearly 200 kilometres from the city. The couple's only daughter works in Delhi. Bhattacharyay rushed to their home in Tollygunge - some two kilometres from his residence -- only to find the couple gasping for breath.
"I started calling the health department frantically and after 15 times I got a response. I gave the details and sought for help and then there was an endless wait. I had to go to my office but I couldn't leave this ailing couple at the mercy of death. Eventually the woman - whose condition was worse between the two - was shifted to a government hospital and the other administered a nebuliser. I went to my office and at night when I reached their home at night, I found both of them stable," Bhattacharyay said.
Bhattacharyay - a covid survivor who has been tested negative on April 15, is not alone but a group of ten youth - six of them covid survivors - are crisscrossing the city day and night to reach out with food, medicine and oxygen to ailing covid patients who have been ignored by society in general. 'Samay Britto' - as they call it, is an organisation that has started working with the covid patients only after the second covid wave lashed in but in this short period it has been able to reach the doorsteps of the city - inspiring the citizens to come out in support of their cause.
"In our team we have 10 people. Among them apart from me, Ayan Chakraborty, Tirtha Das, Animesh Tarafdar, Supriya Sengupta and Shyam Sundar Sengupta are covid survivors. Sougata Banerjee, Tanmoy Das and Jayanta Bhattacharya and our mentor Uma Bhattacharya who is 69 years old, are still not affected. We are a very small group and so we don't allow non-covid people to enter the house of the patient because if they also get affected, we will lose our man power," Bhattacharyay, who is also the secretary of the group, said.
"We are all covid survivors and so we don't have any problem entering the house of a covid patient. It is true that people are scared of the disease and so we have asked them to arrange for food, medicine and oxygen. We will go inside the house to make the necessary arrangements and people are coming out in numbers to help us in this noble cause. We know the people of this city have a heart. We only need to inspire them and that is what we are doing," another member of 'Samay Britto', who is also a covid survivor, said.
When asked how they are managing the huge expenses needed for this purpose, Bhattacharyay who runs a literary magazine also called 'Samay Britto' said, "Kolkata is a place where people want to stand beside people in need. The only thing needed is goodwill and a motivation to approach the people in a proper way and that is what we have been doing. Initially we started with our own money but now people are coming forward to help us. We hope this will increase in future".
Latest updates on Coronavirus (COVID-19)