I recently had the opportunity to volunteer at the covid care ward of my medical college. My parents, initially apprehensive, eventually agreed upon seeing my enthusiasm. For me, entering the COVID ward was like entering a whole new world. Despite being overworked, the nurses and doctors were kind enough to teach me the fundamentals I needed to know, considering my limited knowledge and abilities as a third-year medical student. For the first time in my life, I witnessed a death, and it left me shaken. Then it occurred to me how difficult it must have been for all healthcare personnel to continue working while worrying about their patients and family.

In India, the pandemic is spiralling out of control. Just when we thought we’d overcome the virus, it resurfaced, forcing hospitals to turn away patients due to a lack of beds, people to die due to a lack of oxygen and life-saving medication, and crematoriums and burial grounds to run out of space. Our newsfeeds and inboxes are flooded with pain and grief. Who’d have guessed that condolences, RIP, and broken heart emojis would become the most often typed words on our phones? All around is a deluge of misery and desperation.

And, in the face of this tragedy, many individuals have resolved to tackle it front on.  Be it healthcare workers or laymen, these are the people whose names may not be written in history, but future generations will own them an immense debt of gratitude.

A group of dedicated young doctors whose phone numbers have been circulating on WhatsApp are saving countless lives by coordinating medical assistance for critical patients and ensuring that food reaches patients at their homes. Almost half of them haven’t returned home in over a year.

There are religious organisations that are pitching in to help by supplying oxygen and building COVID hospitals in their premises. This is a lesson for those who use religion to divide people.

The virus’s horror has had a serious impact on people’s mental health, particularly students. Whenever feasible, a former bank manager drives from one residential area to another, instructing youngsters, and at other times, educating online to adhere to social distancing norms.

 During the lockdown last year, people leaving the cities for their homes in the rural were mistreated by their own villagers. Now, resources are being mobilized to quarantine centres with all the required measures in place. The locals split the costs equally. In the midst of so much tragedy and desperation, these examples should inspire all of us to do our part. The characters in the above stories are like those small lamps that know they can not light up the entire world, but still muster the courage to face the dark and terrifying night. Let us pay tribute to those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to assist those in need during these trying times.