SRINAGAR:  Under the blistering sun, fifty-year-old Nazir Ahmad Sheikh carrying his semi-conscious son was sobbing quietly outside the Eidgah grounds on Friday afternoon. 

When passersby enquired from the bearded man, he could not hold back his emotions and broke down. Dozens of people assembled and tried to console the middle-aged man whose son was lying lifeless in his lap.

A bus driver by profession, Nazir has been struggling to make his ends meet since lockdown. For the last four months, he has not earned a penny. His wife, who has been working as domestic help, too has been without a job as people maintained social distance to keep COVID at bay.

“I was driving a city bus. My employer was paying me some money. Since the lockdown, transport is shut and I have been rendered jobless. My 15-year-old son has been ailing for the last few years. I did not have even money to buy food for him. That is why I came here,” said Nazir as tears swelled up his eyes.

Nazir’s son Amir Nazir has been suffering from a life-threatening disease since he was a fifth standard student. The eldest of three siblings, Amir was a brilliant student when he suddenly started passing blood with his urine. Gradually, he started becoming weak and developed serious complications. “Doctors told me that he will not be cured no matter where you take him,” said the desperate father.

Hailing from Shehlipora in Budgam district, Nazir lives in a Spartan house for which the local villagers donated a small patch of land. “I am compelled to seek alms. I told my wife that I will have no other option but to seek help. But I can’t even beg. I am helpless,” he said.

As they say, social media is the biggest leveler, Nazir too got support from unknown people soon after his story was shared on Twitter and Facebook. 

People clicked his pictures with his lifeless son in his lap and posted on social media. In less than 24 hours, he received Rs four lakh donation.

“I got calls from, Budgam deputy commissioner’s office and RTO. They also promised help. Now I want people to help those whose condition is worse than me. I can relate with their pain because I have gone through this trauma,” said Nazir as he prostrates to thank Almighty Allah.

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