Have you ever rode in your car coming home from a movie, seated beside your father, holding an ice cream in your hand, feeling fully secure? Have you ever happened to then pass by a hospital, and wondered what was going through the minds of each one of the people outside? There is fear, pain, anguish, suffering, anxiety, and above all, hope. The thing about hope is, no matter how many times you choose to have it, it feels new. What we all are capable of feeling for those who carry hope is a pity, but very few go the godly mile of showing them empathy.
One such noble person was Mr. Harakhchand Savla, a regular guy with a small house and a big heart. He is a resident of Mumbai, and every day he would see a flock of cancer patients and their family members from opposite the Tata Memorial Hospital. What he saw in those people shattered Savla. They were incredibly sick, fighting against their own bodies, and their family members- concerned and distressed at the thought of losing their loved ones. But his empathy got the best of him. Savla collected funds by selling off his hotel business and began to gather these patients on the opposite side of the hospital and providing them with free, wholesome meals.
Eventually, the number began to grow and he outstretched his helping hand to more and more patients who could barely afford treatment, and their family members with meals. Over the years, Savla got more and more volunteers to help him. Thirty years later, Mr. Harakchand still provides meals to more than 700 people, through his firm. But as they say, humanity doesn’t hold a limit when the intentions are true. He now also provides them with free medicines, after setting up a medicine bank that started off with three volunteering doctors and three pharmacists.
Neither money nor age stood in Savla’s way to reach out to the needy and the diseased. His services now extend to three major cities in the country- Mumbai, Jalgaon, and Kolkata. His trust now runs more than 60 humanitarian projects. They have also begun helping the cancer patients medically and emotionally. They collect old newspapers from people and use that money to sell medicines to the poor at very subsidized rates. They also have unused and unexpired medicines given by a network of patients who sold them back to the hospital, so that they could be distributed to the poor patients.
Mr. Harakhchand Savla is now 57 years old and he still works with the same enthusiasm and unembellished purpose. As growing young people, we lay around all day, study our math and science, play till we’re tired, eat ice cream to our heart’s content, and probably feel sad for those who can’t do all these things because they aren’t supported financially enough. At this stage, we might be too young to help them, but it is never too late for showing responsiveness to the needy. So the next time you can, share your icecream with the kid outside in the baking sun, who is looking at yours longingly through the doors of your car, and see how good that makes you feel.