New Delhi | Agastyaa Gupta: The COVID-19 pandemic came like an unexpected bolt out of the blue for everyone. More than a year back, we had the very first lockdown. No one knew what to expect. All transport was closed, and very limited shops were open for daily ration. There too, strict queues were formed to maintain social distancing, and going out posed a significant risk for the elderly.

Aarush Shah, a student in Class 11 from Vasant Valley School, and a resident of C-1, Vasant Kunj was watching the developments closely. He had just finished with his 10th CBSE board exams and was looking forward to the summer vacation planned by his parents. Within no time, all plans were cancelled and he was homebound. His maternal grandparents living alone in Gurugram also could not move out of their house.

(Agastyaa Gupta)

Seeing his grandparent’s difficult situation, he got motivated and planned to help the senior citizens in his colony who were facing unprecedented difficulty. He spoke to his parents and then with the help of RWA C-1 President and Secretary he took a list of all Senior Citizens living by themselves in Sector C, Pocket 1. He gathered a couple of colony friends and they made a Whatsapp group of the earmarked senior citizens. Armed with masks and sanitisers, he visited all the allocated houses and introduced himself.

Almost all of the senior citizens were overjoyed to see a young lad come out and help in simple chores like getting grocery, milk and other daily needs delivered to them. He could also fix some technical things for them and help them with technology. He taught them how to do zoom calls so they could communicate with their near and dear ones. He called it the “Saarthi Project” and wrote regular blogs as the pandemic progressed.

His leadership role also inspired other friends to support him in this endeavour. At the outset, everyone was scared but his doctor parents, who themselves were working in hospitals through the pandemic, reassured him and his friends that if they take due precautions they can remain safe. This delightful act of caring for senior citizens helped bring fresh sensitivity about the needs and feelings of the elderly. For the seniors, it allayed their fears of having to visit a marketplace and get exposed. It gave them someone they knew they could rely on and trust.

Link to the Saarthi Blog

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma