The most trying time brings the best and the worst in man. There has been a galore of evil incarnations. But when things look bleak and depressing everywhere, a few touching stories involving ordinary mortals have once again demonstrated the human spirit at its best. Two incidents carried in a number of contemporaries have left an indelible impression on minds sensitive enough to feel the emotions involved. Sharing empathy may not be within everyone's capability but still the message may not go amiss for others.
One of the incidents concerns a couple's desperate journey on a 100-plus kilometre road by a battery-run rickshaw to Rangpur Medical College and Hospital in order to save the life of their daughter. The other tells an equally gripping story of a son's highly risky and ingenious effort to save his mother's life. He fastens an oxygen cylinder with his person in order to maintain oxygen supply to his mother, a corona patient, as he drives his motor cycle to Barishal Sher-E-Bangla Medical College and Hospital for her treatment.
The rickshaw-puller could not afford an ambulance when doctors at Thakurgaon Sadar Hospital referred his daughter to Rangpur Medical College and Hospital for better treatment. But he was brave and took the risk simply because he thought that was the only way he could save his daughter's life. As for the ailing mother, a primary school teacher, her treatment was given at home in Nalchithi about 30-35 kilometre from Barisal City. Maybe, the son wanted to save time or no ambulance service was available at the time. So he went for the makeshift arrangement to avail of better treatment at hospital as early as possible.
The good news is that surgery on the seven-month-old girl has been successful. On recovery from Covid-19 following treatment at the hospital in Barishal, the mother also returned home once again on the motor cycle of his son. This is inspiring. Cowards die before their death but the brave fight to the last and most of the time defeat adversaries and even a deadly virus like the SARS-CoV-2. In the fight against diseases, encouragement and care of the near and dear ones act as a most positive factor. The need for thinking positively and encouraging a patient is indeed crucial for survival of an ailing patient. It can work wonder, work as a psychological therapy, help bring a patient from the jaws of death.
Under the sway of such a positive vibe, there grows a conviction within for overcoming the negative thoughts and it helps. This proves rather complementary to medication. Amid the gloom and despondency, even a dying patient sees a silver lining at the end of the dark tunnel.
What is particularly heart-warming is the humanitarian response to the emergency need of the baby girl who was operated upon at Rangpur hospital for entanglement of her intestines. A super shop took the responsibility of all the medical expenses and the district administration also provided monetary help. But it was some businessmen and the common people who came forward with generous help.
The rickshaw-puller confided with reporters that he received Tk400,000 in donation and there has been negligible expenditure from that account. So what will he do with the money? He has a plan to save the money for his daughter's future. That is good enough.
What is impressive, though, is the people's participation in a humanitarian cause. People are not only empathic but also come to help other fellow beings in times of emergency. This has been the sustaining and elevating tradition of this land and its people. The second wave of the pandemic has definitely blunted people's sensitivity and generosity to some extent but if the desperation and travail of the marginalised could be presented in a compassionate manner, a positive response is sure to come flowing in. Let humanity triumph over human misery and sorrow.