Chennai techie wins hearts with his noble work

Chennai techie brings smiles on people’s faces with his noble work

DH Photo

31-year-old Dinesh Saravanan’s day begins early in the morning at 6 am. After criss-crossing his native town of Vellore for a few hours looking for the needy and helping them with food provisions in times of COVID-19 lockdown, he sits before a laptop to report to his office for the day.

After logging out of work at around 9 pm, Saravanan takes up his notebook to draw a plan for his activities the next morning. With COVID-19 wrecking the lives of many, especially those from underprivileged sections, Saravanan has been on his toes since March 21 using his free time to help them by spending from his pocket.

Active on Twitter, Saravanan’s posts helping the poor led to many people donate whatever they can to this software engineer to bring smiles on the faces of many more from the underprivileged sections. Saravanan, an analyst with a US-based communication technology company in Chennai, is now a popular man in Vellore, a town in North Tamil Nadu 140 km from Chennai, thanks to his services to the needy for the past few years.

 

With support from others and spending his own money, this young software analyst has so far distributed provisions and vegetables to 450 families in Vellore and is providing breakfast and lunch to around 80 people every day.

He has identified the worst sufferers of the lockdown like migrants, washermen, road-side fruit sellers, and others by landing up at their doorsteps and pleasantly surprising them with provisions for about a month. On Saturday, he bought fruits from roadside vendors and distributed them to 100 families of sanitary workers.

“Since March 21, I have spent Rs 1.5 lakh which includes my savings and the amount received from others. I never ask for donations from anyone, but people contact me after looking at my posts and contribute voluntarily. The smile on the faces of people when they receive help from me especially during these difficult times will motivate me to continue doing this,” Saravanan told DH.

The software analyst also received recognition of sorts for his work on Saturday when Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami took to Twitter to congratulate Saravanan for using his “free time” qualitatively to help the people during their tough times and by distributing saplings.

Hailing from a poor family, Saravanan began his social service in 2014 after his brother passed away following a road accident. He has so far distributed 18,000 saplings to households in and around Vellore and had helped build a toilet for a family that did not have one – Saravanan’s household did not have a latrine till he was 16.

“My brother had been using his free time to help the poor and I took the responsibility from him after his death. Helping others is very satisfying and what I have understood over the years is that the intention to help others is what matters. Once you have the intention, you will find the ways and means,” Saravanan said.

Tracing his journey since 2014, Saravanan said he kept aside Rs 5,000 from his salary every month for “others” in the beginning but that was not enough for his hunger to help the needy. That is when, Saravanan said, people slowly started reading about his work and began voluntary donations helping the software analyst widen his ambit.

“The money that I could set aside after taking care of my expenses in Chennai wasn’t just enough. When people began contributing, I felt happy. And when someone donates money, I put the expenses on the public domain besides giving the actual break-up of the money spent to those who donate,” he said.

Saravanan also takes help from his friends to find out the needy. A few days back, he had distributed relief materials to families of snake charmers who have lost their livelihood due to COVID-19.