“The news about coronavirus was not so talked about before the lockdown began. I work in the transport department of a private hospital in LB Nagar and though I’m around medical professionals, I came to know about the pandemic only a couple of weeks before the lockdown. Masks, social distancing and washing hands regularly are important, we were told. As soon as I went home that evening, I told my family but they didn’t take it very seriously. “We always wash hands. Don’t worry, it’ll be gone,” they said. It made me wonder how many more people in the city are not understanding the gravity of the situation. It’s not really their fault because there wasn’t enough awareness. That’s when I decided to use my free time on public holidays and Sundays to guide people in being safe and healthy during these volatile times. I first got a few posters of social distancing printed and stuck them on cardboards to make placards. I started riding around the city – I would tell any group of more than 3 to stay home and not roam together. A few of them would ask me what I’ve got to do with their lives, but many of them also appreciated my work. I was worried about the police stopping me, but when I explained my agenda, they encouraged me to continue the good work.
Soon, I came across a picture of a man wearing a helmet created in the shape of the virus. That seemed like a great idea to catch people’s attention and tell them how dangerous this virus is. So I did the same with my helmet.
Once a man stopped me in the middle of the road. I thought I was in trouble. But he asked me if I’m doing okay, if I need water because I was roaming in the scorching heat and later, he also took a picture of me with the helmet. These actions by strangers are always encouraging. My family first thought I was being silly but once they watched news and understood how serious this pandemic is, they supported my move, though they were worried about my safety. Now, I also distribute a few face masks to those on the road with my friends support. Even my hospital recognised and appreciated my work. This is what motivates me to go out even on day offs. If I can influence even a dozen people every week to take up safety measures and stay home, I’ll be more than happy.”
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