• Hasitha Illa

Lockdown paved way for Opportunities

Hi, my name is Shalini and I am digitally known as lostloveadventure. I am a travel journalist or you can say that I am a travel Research manager. So far, I have travelled around 16 states

and three union territories. I also suffer from an issue called recurrent depressive disorder and I am very vocal about it, it is a mental disorder. Like every other medical problem I am also getting treated through medication and a typical therapy but it doesn't stop me from being a human being.

Today I'm here to talk about kindness. Due to the lockdown, in the month of April 2020, my travel mates & I were not only stuck in Amritsar but, we were also evicted from the travel hostel that we were staying in. All four of us were from different continents and met during this travel journey. After 2 days, a friend helped us to stay in her house but we needed a permanent solution as the lockdown kept extending. We asked for help from the nearest police station and gave our details to the police.

The chaotic and panic situation at that point of time was understandable as we did not get much help. But, later someone from the Christian community got me in touch with the bishop of Amritsar and I gave him our detailed. I told him that I was stuck with An Egyptian girl, Iranian girl and a guy from Italy. He gave me an address which was Alexander School in Amritsar and told me to shift for safety and we can stay as long as we want. A complete stranger helped us to get settled even without knowing us. We trusted him and shifted the next day itself and since then, we stayed for 82 days before we went back to our respective homes in different countries. From shelter to a kitchen to cook food from helping us to settle down to getting us checked by doctors. He, his family and the entire team of Bishop house of Amritsar helped us in every way possible and they were just not helping us, but many more people in need. They were distributing food and even rescued some Nagaland girls who were stuck in a house where the owner lock them up from outside so that they cannot go out, as they could not pay the rent and everything was closed by then.

This whole incident and all the experiences that I gathered from those 82 days made me realise that kindness is the only emotion that gives a lot of satisfaction in itself. I had to travel

back to Kolkata as that was my hometown and while I was in Kolkata I casually went out for a stroll. I saw a very familiar face and remembered that she was one of the house helps at my friends place but, she shifted to the USA last year.

Casually I asked “How are you?” and she started sobbing. I asked “Why are you crying?”

She helplessly says “I only have 6rs in my bag and I have 2 children to feed.”

She came out to the bazaar so that she can take home any leftover from the Bazaar. This incident broke my heart into pieces and since then till now I raise funds and use my own funds to give out three months grocery to different families in need. From last 3 months, I and my friends have been doing this. We received help from many known and unknown in this entire process and we managed to give out groceries to at least 82 families. We have also reimbursed a few medical bills and took care of some elderly who live all by themselves.

My source of inspiration has been my friend Eshita who is in Bangalore and who has been helping me from day one in every way possible, my therapist and my parents. Of course, it took an emotional toll on me and I have been contemplating regards to a lot of things as well as learning a lot of new things. I am accumulating a lot of different experiences. As I have already mentioned that I suffer from a mental disorder, emotional misbalance is one of

the most affected areas when it comes to my health. So my doctor has been really supportive and he has always been available for me over email. Sometimes I feel that I won't be able to pull this through but the strength and courage I have received so far from known and unknown people keeps me going. Kindness is infectious trust me when you to receive kindness out of Nowhere you realise how important it is to give it back to the society and what Joy it is to be kind. We are in a middle of a pandemic which has destroyed many families till now and it is just getting worse with days. We don't know what is in store for us next but, what we know is that we can be kind today to someone as we are living each day one day at a time. This lockdown has given me an opportunity to serve many families.

Let your existence be worth living for.

-Shalini Magdel Das


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