Couple lives ennobled life, of enabling others' lives

This couple lives a ennobled life, of enabling lives torn asunder

Shubhajit Bhattacharya and Juli Aich deliver essential commodities to the needy.

Bengaluru-based Shubhajit Bhattacharya and Juli Aich have dipped into their savings to help migrant workers stranded in the city during the lockdown. Shubhajit, who lost both his arms in an accident more than 20 years ago, was moved by the plight of the migrant workers. “We felt the need to help them out,” he says.

The couple started out near their homes, helping workers from Tamil Nadu and Nepal, who were struggling to get by.

While they stared the work with their own money, social media has helped amplify their reach, with friends donating towards their cause. So far, the couple has helped over 80 families over the past three weeks.

The scope of their work was limited due to the restrictions on travel but there was a case of a worker in Malleswaram that the couple could not ignore. “A vegetable seller met with an accident and could no longer work. He had two young children and a pregnant wife. I took it upon myself to get them rations and milk for the children,” Shubhajit explains.

Though he was stopped by the police at multiple points, they let him carry on with his work when he explained the situation.

Shubhajit works as a graphic designer and events coordinator with the Association of People with Disabilities (APD) in  Bengaluru, while Juli works as an admin support staff at a healthcare clinic in Lingarajapuram.

They have helped 80 families and are distributing supplies to eight families now.

“He has been working with us for almost five years now and throughout that time he’s been super enthusiastic, about not just work, but also helping others,” says Seema Joshi, the director of marketing and communication at APD.

Joshi says he is deeply empathetic and is always initiating action to help those less fortunate than him. “You can see it in the way he goes out to help those in need without worrying about himself. He’s always first in line when someone needs help,” she says. 

Moni Agra is one of the people who he has helped. She lives in a colony near his house with her husband and one-year-old child. “We don’t have a voter ID card or Aadhaar card so we were unable to get help from the government. Shubhajit took note of this and helped us and many other families like ours,” she says. He arranged rations, which included wheat flour, rice, spices, tea powder and more, enough to last for at least two weeks, says Moni. “After seeing my kid, he even arranged milk for us,” she adds.

Shubhajit says he has another goal to achieve when helping people during the lockdown. He wants to change the way society thinks about people with disabilities. “The stereotype is that we constantly ask for help. I wanted to show that we are just as capable of helping out as anyone else,” he says.