South Pointers deliver medicines and more at doorstep
They walked out of classrooms years ago but the bond forged on campus is as strong as ever. Former students of South Point School have taken it upon themselves to ensure that their retired teachers do not stay unattended during the lockdown.
Pointers Who Care, an alumni initiative formed in 2009, has been doing the rounds, delivering medicines and groceries, withdrawing cash from banks and more.
“We have 228 teachers on our database to whom we provide three kinds of services round the year — medical, financial and emotional. In this period, some of them are in dire need of the first. Their neighbourhood grocery or medicine shops are not delivering at home. Anticipating this crisis, 40 of us volunteers took turns to call up the teachers and check if they needed help,” said Anupam Sen, the secretary of the organisation and 1981 Madhyamik passout.
The biggest requirement was of medicines. “We identified a Pointer from the 1983 Madhyamik batch who owns a medicine shop opposite Lake Market. The lists were WhatsApped to him and he kept everything packed for us to pick up. He even arranged for the medicines that he could not supply initially and delivered them today,” said Sen, who did the rounds last Saturday with schoolmates Nivedita Roy Burman and Rajib Sarkar. “We had stickers on our car windshields that said Emergency Medicine, so police did not stop us.”
Get Well, the chemist shop run by Sarbajit Ghatak, has mostly suspended its home delivery service. “I am operating with reduced manpower. Moreover, supply was drying up last week, when I was approached. But I gathered whatever was in my stock,” he said.
One of the teachers, Dipali Sinha Roy, who used to teach Bengali, called to thank Ghatak on receiving the medicines. “It felt good to have been of some service to them,” he smiled. Roy Burman, who delivered in the Jodhpur Park area, did not step into the houses of teachers. “I was wearing a mask and gloves and delivered at the door, with minimal interaction as I did not want to expose them to any risk,” said the geography teacher at Shri Shikshayatan College, who stays near Navina cinema.
The teachers could not be more thankful for the initiative of their one-time students. “I had about 10 days of medicines left when the lockdown was announced. The neighbourhood chemist was shut. As I stay alone, I was tense about running out of blood sugar and pressure medicines when their call came. They are always by our side. When I had fractured my hand some years ago, they had taken me to the doctor, too. I have two months of supply now,” said Sanghamitra Dasgupta. The 80-year-old English teacher retired in 2000.
Anindita Sen, 71, received a medicine that was missing in the first lot delivered by Roy Barman from Ghatak on Friday. “It was a medicine for a nerve disorder for my husband. I have not heard of students of any other school being this mindful of their former teachers,” said Sen, whose daughters stay out of town.
Pointers Who Care has been holding medical camps annually with alumni doctors as well as two social gatherings. The service during lockdown is out of their calendar of events. “We are doing for our teachers what we are doing for our elderly relatives too. They must not be out on the streets in this situation,” said Roy Barman.