Rashmi Chouhan - A Free Press reader
Rashmi Chouhan - A Free Press reader

It was on the afternoon of April 16 this year, I got a call from a private hospital in Indore, where my father was admitted, for a plasma requirement. Every morning during my father’s treatment, I used to wake up with a gnawing sensation in my gut wondering what would happen to him. He is 61, and had 65% lung infection. Despite being on oxygen and Remdesivir, his condition wasn’t improving. Not knowing much about how to procure plasma and where to get the donor from, we started amplifying a message for plasma, just as we did for oxygen cylinder, oxygen bed and Remdesivir earlier. At every step, our hopes rested on those unknown Good Samaritans, who would somewhere and somehow read our messages and come to our help.

The next morning I got a call from a 25-year-old man Parth Shukla (name changed on request) who wanted to donate the Covid plasma required. With no clue who Parth was and how actually our message reached him, I told him in utter desperation and helplessness that we needed the plasma. With no time to even absorb the shock of my father’s severe condition, I also lacked the time and mental capacity to figure out this entire chain of human communication immediately.

THE GOOD SAMARITANS

In the next two days, when things seemed a little settled, I put my curiosity to rest and started finding out everyone through whom we reached Parth, or rather, he reached us. I called up Parth, who told me that it was his friend Nikita Patel who reached him stating that someone needed plasma. I didn’t know Nikita by any means. I then called her up and she said she saw the message for plasma requirement flashed in a WhatsApp group which she was a part of. Coincidently, a day before that, Parth had spoken to her about his willingness to donate Covid plasma to anyone who needed it. She connected the dots and without losing a moment informed Parth about the plasma requirement by us. But how did the message reach the WhatsApp group? Nikita informed that the message was forwarded by a city-based journalist Laveen Owhal. He was the administrator of the WhatsApp group, which was also dedicated to helping Covid-hit people.

Such was his dedication that Laveen had impactfully rewritten the message forwarded by me, translating a part of it to Hindi for better reach. Yet, at that point, I didn’t know who he was and how our request reached him. I called him up. Laveen said it was his journalist friend Tarun Tiwari from Free Press, Indore, who had forwarded the message to him. The picture was becoming clear to me. I had got Tarun’s number from Arvind Kumar, my colleague in Ahmedabad. The last thing I wanted to do was to thank Tarun and Arvind Sir. I did so. But there was still a missing link. As I thanked Arvind Sir, he told me he didn’t know Tarun personally but got his number from someone. Who was this someone? It turned out that the person was Arvind sir’s friend and an ex-colleague of Tarun from Free Press. When I heard his name, I couldn’t believe the providence.

The person was Sanjeev Ratan Singh, my former boss at a leading newspaper in India, where I worked as a senior sub-editor and he as a resident editor 10 years ago. I got goosebumps. I remembered him as the coolest boss I ever got, who had helped us young journalists navigate through newsroom vagaries then.

Ten years later, he again helped me navigate through a tough time and helped save my father. I spoke to him after 10 years, with words falling short to thank him. I couldn’t believe this chain of amplification and the unexpected co-incidents. These are the Good Samaritans of my story, who dedicatedly contributed to saving my father’s life. In this time of crisis, when our social media chats are flooded with Covid news, data, and pleas for help, it was our fortune that this group of people noticed and remembered us. I have my gratitude for those courageous journalists, too, who are out on the field not just to cover Covid news, but to double up as corona warriors.

Now my father is back home, healthy and recovering well.

It is my plea to all the readers to donate or help donate Covid plasma. It can save someone’s life and could be a huge help for a family desperately looking to save their loved ones. And you never know how you may end up creating a chain of human love and life.

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