The effects of the Lockdown in India have been a challenge to all in their daily lives, with virtually every service coming to a standstill, except for the absolute basic ones, which sustain survival. But it’s that much more challenging in a community as ours, which has a sizeable chunk of seniors who are single and living on their own, with many completely dependent on their domestic-help, tiffin-services and public transport for their daily sustenance. With the functioning of these services not qualifying as ‘basic’, under the legislative diktat of the Lockdown, the senior members of the community have been fighting an uphill battle, in more ways than one, against the dreaded and deadly COVID-19.
But it’s not just the seniors who have been gravely inconvenienced. A number of other community members have been facing several issues, in keeping with the Lockdown – the unavailability of groceries and other consumables as well as non-consumable items of daily use; Medical issues; and numerous other inconveniences – all of which pose serious challenges to sustenance of life and livelihood. In fact, even during minor or major emergencies, one is unable to turn to their usual support system of family or friends as they too, like the rest of us, are under home-confinement, which is the need of the hour today, in the battle against the Coronavirus.
Coming to the timely aid of the Community, the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) has announced the installation of a ‘DIRECT HELP LINE’ for all community members who find themselves in a difficult situation brought on by the lock-down. As per the Press Statement, “The BPP has installed DEDICATED HELP LINES for community members to reach out to us for help/assistance on any issues that they are facing due to the Lockdown, or for emergencies. We will try to resolve issues regarding lack of food supplies/groceries, etc. as well as cater to medical needs / emergencies by connecting the elderly or incapacitated with doctors and GPs nearby and provide ambulance services.”
BPP Trustee Kersi Randeria:
“The Trustees were concerned about the situation that has been forced upon the community members due to this unprecedented and unexpected lockdown, given the fact that we have an ageing community and many seniors, who stay on their own. The BPP will play the leadership role in trying to create a centralized network and establish a systematic connect between those who are in need of assistance and the volunteers.
Our community members deserve due credit, as within almost every colony, there are a number of volunteers helping those in need – food is being provided to the helpless by concerned neighbours, Committee members are operating the water pumps, external help is being sought to clean garbage, etc. What is most needed today is a concerted and unified effort – a proper system in place with plans operating smoothly – all under one umbrella. That is what BPP aims to provide – a centralized platform for effective and smooth coordination of all volunteering efforts to ensure maximum results/benefits to community members.
The community needs doctors and other medical professionals to volunteer their services, as also those who can help in providing food supplies and food, and volunteers to help our seniors. I request our community members to come forward and share their willingness to help the community by connecting with us on the mentioned phone numbers. BPP will play a crucial role, given the lockdown and limited resources we have. In due time we hope to set up a well-knit system that will take care of the problems that the community faces. How far we will succeed can’t be guaranteed, however everything we succeed in doing, will be a step in the right direction.”
As per the statement, the BPP is in the process of establishing small teams of volunteers attached to different Parsi settlements like Baug, Colonies, buildings etc, to cater to its residents as well as community members living close to these. As per proximity, these volunteers will be accessible to help out all who seek assistance on various levels – including food and grocery supplies; medical assistance and any other hardships brought on by the lockdown. Community members who are in need as well as those who wish to volunteer during this crisis are requested to connect with Ronny Patel: 9867946384 or Jimmy Merchant: 9819027857.
BPP Chairman, Yazdi Desai:
“In these troubled times, many do not know whom to turn to for help and guidance and support. The BPP exists to serve the community and is hereby reaching out to all our humdins who need help of any kind. Stay home, stay safe and let us take care of your problems/needs.”
BPP Trustee Noshir Dadrawala:
“There are many within our community who are alone or physically incapacitated. Not having domestic help has added to their woes from their most simple errands and needs to fear of being alone and uncared for medical needs. The BPP’s dedicated Help Line is for such elderly or incapacitated to reach out to us. BPP will in turn coordinate with dedicated volunteers and try to alleviate their difficulties to the extent possible. We are committed to playing an enabling and facilitating role. We cannot do it all. But, we will try mobilize the resources human and otherwise to help our community tide over this difficult time. We need every community member’s help to help our community.”
BPP Trustee Armaity Tirandaz:
“In these peculiarly trying times, we have to, more than ever before, come together as a community to help and support each other. In keeping with the unprecedented challenges imposed by the Lockdown, especially on those who are struggling to meet their various needs on a daily level or during emergencies, the BPP’s ‘Dedicated Help Line’ initiative endeavours to provide succour to all community members. This Help Line will form the crucial common platform or the bridge which will connect those in need, with those who can help, in a systematic and coordinated manner. The BPP stands by the community in its hour of need. I urge all our good Samaritans and volunteers to connect with us as soon as possible so we can further fortify our service efforts.”
BPP Trustee Xerxes Vispi Dastur:
“We, at the BPP, are trying to ensure that the Parsis in Mumbai, especially in the colonies, are safe and following government protocol to the fullest. Let us, as a community, once again display the sense of civic obedience and philanthropy we are famous for, in our country. It is important that we realise the seriousness of the current situation and ensure that we all individually play our parts. Today, the community needs to look after the elderly and the financially challenged members. The BPP, along with the respective colony associations, has set up a manner in which we can look after as many people as possible. I would personally request each one of you to help in any way you can, even if it is in as small a manner as calling and talking to someone who is alone and lonely. Please feel free to pick up the phone and reach out to any of us or at the Helpline. Remember that to defeat this VIRUS, depends entirely on I and U. Stay well and Safe.”
BPP Trustee Viraf Mehta:
“Even as BPP makes this effort, in the face of today’s challenges, to meet the needs and alleviate the ordeals of community members, it is very important that each one of us, unfailingly does our duty, as an Indian citizen. Please stay at home – do not wander out or send your children down to play, even within the colony boundaries – this deadly virus is airborne and extremely contagious. Staying indoors and adhering strictly to Social Distancing is the need of the hour. It may sound unpalatable but this is the only way to ensure that not just you and your family, but your entire colony and community is protected from this unpredictable contagion which could suddenly consume us all, just as it has, abroad. I sincerely ask all of us to stay protected by staying at home and maintaining the Social Distancing/ Isolation criteria.”