What comes to your mind when you hear the word “superhero“? A strapping person with supernatural powers? Fighting crime and busy with their mission to protect humanity? Well, not always. Not all superheroes wear a cape and protect humanity from monsters and disasters. This story is about one such superhero. The kind that protect humanity in their own extraordinary ways. His name is Subhadip Mukherjee. Why do I refer to him as a superhero? Read his heart warming story and you will will find out exactly why.
The Incident Which Changed Three Lives
One sweltering afternoon, Subhadip was out having a cup of tea, taking a break from work. It was then that he saw a barefoot and tattered little girl holding the hand of an impossibly thin and frail woman, possibly her mother. The woman was begging for food. This is how subhadip describes the heart-wrenching scene –
“The diminutive girl was holding the lady’s hand with great care so that the trundling mother could get some support. It was broad daylight. People were looking at the woman in utter surprise. How can a living human being be so thin, a walking skeleton ”
A conflict started within Subhadip. Should he help the duo or just ignore them and get back to his work? Even if he were to help, the best he could do was to offer them some money. At this point, most people would have chosen the easier option to just go about their business, ignoring the dehumanising sight before them. Few others may have taken a little bit of pity and spared some change. But our superhero isn’t “most people”. Finally, the humane side of him emerged victorious from his conflict. He braved his initial hesitation and stepped up to the mother-daughter duo and asked, “What happened to you? Are you ill?”. Subhadip was aware of the people all around looking at him.
The Heart-Breaking Story Of Hasi Sardar
It took the woman a few long moments before she could string two words together to speak. She told Subhadip that her name was Hasi Sardar. She was 28 and suffering from drug resistant Tuberculosis. A form of TB which is almost incurable. She had lost her husband to the same disease. Hasi used to sell puffed rice. But as she looked different and diseased, people stopped buying from her. She neither had enough food nor could she afford her medication.
“The only support she had was her six year old daughter Reshma” writes Subhadip. He adds, “My soul was bleeding. I could feel the pain she was going through. I thought I must try to help her. I gave her Rs. 500 and passed on my mobile number. I told her to give me a ring if she needed any more help. And left.“
After a few days, Subhadip received a call from Hasi (which he least expected). She had requested someone to call his number. When Subhadip met her outside his office, she asked him for some more money so that she could buy some milk and eggs for herself and her daughter. Subhadip said he would try and as he started to leave, she told him with teary eyes, “I know my days are numbered. But after I die there is no one to take care of my little daughter. Please look after her if possible”.
“I will try” was all Subhadip could say at that moment.
Call To Action
Subhadip discussed the matter with a few of his colleagues and friends to see what they had to say about it. One of his friends warned him saying that she might be a member of some begging racket. Subhadip had similar experience in the past too and could relate. So, he thought he should verify her claims before going all the way to help her. He visited her home. Hasi Sardar lived with her elderly parents and daughter in a very small, single roomed tenement without windows. No way for sunlight to enter. He asked for her prescriptions and medicines to cross check her story. He took snapshots of the same with his cellphone and sent those snaps to a doctor friend who confirmed that it was a genuine case of TB. Subhadip made up his mind to help her. He decided to provide her food money and medicines. Whatever it takes to bring her back to life.
Additionally, Subhadip kept an elaborate logbook of whatever was happening requesting friends and colleagues to chip in. He shared the details with all those people who donated money for Hasi. Also, he started a charitable trust called Maha Jiban and has shared the events in the facebook page of the same.
Subhadip shared the events on facebook as they transpired. Here are the main events in a sequence:
- Getting monthly food supplies to her home
- Food and medicine for Hasi Sardar for 4 months
- Little Reshma starts going to school
- Hasi Sardar’s health suddenly deteriorates
- Hasi Sardar passes away
- Reshma gets a new home
- A happier life for little Reshma
Reshma shining in her new life
At her new home, Reshma was enjoying her life to the fullest. She was excelling in a number of activities and was learning new things at a great speed. As Subhadip puts it in his own words:
‘Visited Reshma, just before I traveled to Stockholm, Sweden on September 1, 2016. She was going to school, learning music, learning Karate with her other friends at the village. I could sense the confidence and happiness. I asked Reshma “Are you happy? Do you feel good here?” She smiled and told me that she was happy, she got her new mother there (a vivacious lady who takes care of ten children in one house, they call her their mother). Her teachers told me she was such a nice and smart girl! Waiting eagerly to see her again as soon as I return to India.’
We can only imagine the sense of fulfilment and happiness Subhadip would have felt during that visit.
Life lessons which Reshma taught Subhadip
Subhadip writes that Reshma taught him a number of valuable lessons in life. He shares those lessons with us in his own words:
1. “To learn to be happy”
We complain about everything – an insufficient salary hike, a snarling office hour traffic, the questionable cooling efficiency of an aging air conditioner, a missed onsite money making opportunity, of not having the snazziest smartphone, of missing an attractive online shopping deal! We are the most unhappy people ever lived on earth. I found Reshma amazingly calm and smiling in every situation, always. She never complained about anything.
2. “The poorest of the poor can share, but the richest of the rich may not”
Eating an egg was a rare luxury for Reshma. Once her mother gave her a boiled egg from her own diet. I was visiting them at that time. I found Reshma dividing the single egg in four equal pieces and sharing that with three of her friends. The sight of Reshma sharing her food with her friends brought tears to my eyes. She taught me, generosity resides in our mind, not in our bank accounts. I have never seen anyone so generous as her. I felt that “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs” is not always true.
3. “If you want to be happy, help others”
It is a punishment to think only about your own good. The sooner you start realizing this, the better it is for your own mental health.
4. “If you love it, you can do it”
I never thought I could do anything for Reshma. But I loved that little girl and genuinely wanted to help her. Today it gives me confidence to reach out to people and help them at their times of need.
Jiban is a non-profit organization. And if you are willing to lend a helping hand, you can provide your support & help by reaching out to them on their facebook page-Jiban. Finally, we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Subhadip Mukherjee for his kind act and for sharing his life changing story of inspiration on Quora.
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