Do for Kerala: From footpath vendor Noushad to many more, how ordinary people are helping

While some gave away their last rupee, others have even lost their lives trying to rescue people.
Do for Kerala: From footpath vendor Noushad to many more, how ordinary people are helping
Do for Kerala: From footpath vendor Noushad to many more, how ordinary people are helping
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Even as a negative campaign has been spreading about sending relief material or making monetary contributions for the flood victims in Kerala, there are many who are, without pausing for a moment, giving away all they can to help others in need.

Like Noushad, who sells clothes on the footpath. 

Or Linu, who died trying to rescue others. Or the many people on the roads giving away their last rupee to help someone whose need is greater than theirs. 

Noushad, the footpath clothes vendor

A phone camera is focussed on Noushad, recording live on Facebook his movements across a warehouse in Ernakulam Broadway. But Noushad doesn’t stop for a moment to look at the camera or talk, even as the one shooting him – actor Rajesh Sharma –  asks him questions. All Noushad appears to be interested in is filling big sacks with clothes he pulls out from racks in bundles – pants, shirts, children’s clothes – from his stock. It’s all for the flood-affected people in other parts of Kerala.

Rajesh Sharma, who has been involved in collecting relief materials for the flood victims, met Noushad in Ernakulam. “When he came to know that we need clothes to be sent to the flood-affected areas, he asked us to come with him to his store in Broadway. And on reaching there, he went about taking clothes out – all new and all for sale – to fill sacks. He wouldn’t stop even after we asked him to,” Rajesh says in a live video he recorded at Noushad’s store.

Noushad sells the clothes on a footpath in Ernakulam. He doesn’t appear to have any qualms about “his losses”. Helping people out is his profit, Rajesh says.

Word has got around so much about Noushad's good gesture that tributes have come to him from everywhere, including this artistic one below, a portrait made of clothes, by artist Davinchi Suresh.

Aadhi, who sold his scooter

In Kozhikode, a graphic designer and photographer called Aadhi Anoop decided to sell off his scooter and contribute the money he’d get to the Kerala Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund. “No monthly salary. Sparing the daily expense, have nothing more to shell out. Selling the scooter to the neighbour and putting the money in the CMDRF. We shall overcome,” Aadhi wrote a Facebook post, inspiring many others.

Risking lives in rescue ops

At least two people have lost their lives in rescue operations so far. Assistant Engineer of Kerala State Electricity Board, Viyyur office, Baiju, who had to go to Punnayurkulam in Thrissur on Friday morning to repair an electric tower, drowned to death. The small boat in which he was travelling to the waterlogged area capsized. Baiju, who hails from Vadanappally in Thrissur, was 45 years old.

Linu, a Seva Bharati worker from Cheruvannur in Kozhikode, died during rescue operations on Saturday. “Linu was 34 years old,” confirms a police official in Cheruvannur. Reports say that he had reached the Cheruvannur relief camp with his parents, and from there, he went out to rescue stranded people. That's when he reportedly fell in the water and died.

Different kinds of generosity

Journalist Sujith Chandran wrote about his humbling experience of collecting materials worth Rs 20,000 in three hours from Thiruvananthapuram. While some shunned the team, Sujith wrote of the generous gold merchant who sent out a staff member to buy a box full of items required at the relief camps; a man selling clothes on a cycle, who gave them the towels which were hanging on the handlebar; the salesman of a chips store who cleared his wallet of the 30 rupees it had and bought biscuits to be sent; a family visiting Padmanabhaswamy temple who gave more money than expected to buy sanitary napkins; and a man, who felt he had not given enough, who chased them on his bike to give a pack of Dettol.

Ashem, another journalist, tweeted about a farmer from Rajakattu, who lost over a thousand plantain trees in the rain, but who still gave a bunch of bananas for a relief camp.

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