Gurnaaz Kaur & Sheetal
As the second wave of Covid-19 gets intense, people are rising up to the occasion and offering their help. And social media is playing a huge role in connecting donors/helpers to the families of Covid patients. From actors like Sonu Sood to Instagram influencers like Kusha Kapila, Dolly Singh to comedian Saloni Gaur to artist Neha Doodles, many have come forward to engage with their followers to help the needy. We ask celebrity artistes, comedians and writers how they have contributed their bit in this hour of crisis.
Stand-up comedian Amit Tandon had posted a message of hope amid the growing lockdown woes a week ago, wherein he volunteered to connect with Covid patients on a daily basis, a 30-minute session which involved talks and possibly few laughs. He says, “The idea just came to me because of the second lockdown. This time it hit harder. So, I announced that I would talk to people who are Covid positive on Twitter. It exploded instantly and we’ve been getting too many mails. We have spoken to around 250 people. I speak for 10 minutes and for the rest 40-50 minutes they share what they are going through. Somebody is stuck in Maldives in a water villa, someone is in a hospital, someone has blood cancer. Once there was one aunty ji who was in a hospital and just wanted to listen because she couldn’t talk.”
Classic and constructive
Ludhiana-born stand-up comedian Rahul Dua calls this flow of DMs (Direct Messages) and first-hand verifications of important contacts in his stories, a classic example of utilising social media in its truest sense. “We have gained something beautiful out of this. And unlike the ‘usual’ way of using social media, of becoming a keyboard warrior of trolls and abuses, many artistes and comedians have come together to utilise their resources. The second wave was inevitable but still we were caught unprepared. The system wasn’t prepared. And when the entire system collapsed, mankind rose above expectation and social media came handy.”
Currently residing in Gurgaon, it all started when someone from his friend’s family got admitted to a hospital and he tried to arrange a plasma donor for him. Now, he posts about available help in Delhi NCR, Chandigarh, Punjab and other states. He adds, “I am thankful to be in a position where I can sit at a place and reach out to so many people just by sharing a story. It’s a privilege and should be used in the right way.”
In right direction
Popularly known as Guptaji, comedian Appurv Gupta is using his social media handle to help people fight Covid. He says, “Many of my shows scheduled during the last week got cancelled and free time on my hands made me think, ‘what’s the use of so many followers on Twitter when I cannot utilise it and point them in the right direction.’ In our case, towards the availability of plasma donors, Remedesivir doses and oxygen cylinders. There were few requests at first but after a few days my social media handles were bombarded with requests. I don’t know the exact number but we have helped 100+ people since last week. We have also made a group on telegram to reach out to more affected people.”
We shall overcome this
Nikhil Taneja, entrepreneur and co-founder of @weareyuva, says, “Many of us, including myself, are not keeping tabs on the lives saved or lives lost but we are just busy making a difference and doing our bit.” He believes that we have to sail through these tough times. “It is frightening to think how many people are there who don’t have access to internet and not privileged enough to reap its benefits,” adds Nikhil.
Meanwhile, entrepreneurs and B-towners have also conveyed their willingness to help.
Reaching out and how!
Help is help
“Tough times call for unity, help all those that you can…small help or big help, help is help. DM me if I can help in any way…will try my best…take care, be kind… Love and strength Rhea” reads the Instagram Story of actress Rhea Chakraborty.
Let’s be positive
“Last five days looking for one positive thing to say-not found it. Feels like 24/7 lump in throat to see so many suffer in silence and pain-would love to say “Let’s be positive” but can’t. I urge anyone who can to daily turn to five people known/unknown and see how you can help or comfort them! -Ronnie Screwvala, chairman and co-founder, upGrad
Be a hero
Gurmeet Choudhary shared a message: “Let’s be a hero instead of just supporting your favourite heroes. Requesting not only my FAN CLUB but for all the different celebrities FAN CLUBS to come together in support to help eachother.. My mission is to help as many people as possible. Request all to help me in my mission…You guys are powerful and can reach out to as many as you can, keep supporting ”