“The holy month of Ramzan this year is just not about prayers for me. It is about performing the last rites of nearly hundered covid deceased patients. Even on Eid, just like any other day, we will be performing the last rites of the dead. In the past one year we have performed last rites for 1800 covid patients all over Telangana.
Ramzan has always been the month of celebration. As kids it was a different kind of joy we had. But now in such horrid times all we pray for is for everyone to stay safe, alive and healthy. When COVID outbreak occurred in Telangana, we began to coordinate and distribute food and medicines as part of covid relief. Things changed one day when I got a call from my friend’s sister and she said, their father succumbed to covid. When I asked her about her brother, all she could say was ‘he ran away’. He ran away leaving his dead father. This is what triggered me to perform last rites of COVID patients, irrespective of their religion. Another heart wrenching story was of a thirty-three-year old girl who passed away due to covid and delay in oxygen. Her parents passed away a year ago. She had a sister who was not allowed to come for her last rites. She said, her in-laws did not want her to.
Just like these stories, a large number go unclaimed. The word about our work started to spread through WhatsApp forwards and interviews since last year. Comparing from what it was in 2020 with twenty calls a week, now we get twenty calls a day. No matter what religion the deceased is from, we make sure the rituals are done accordingly. It is important for us to understand that we are responsible for our own death in the present scenario. No religion shall divide us in battling Covid-19. This Eid we as a family will pray, have sheer kurma, spend time together.”
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