The Covid pandemic has changed everyone's lives in some way or the other. People have lost near and dear ones. Some became homeless, and some jobless. However, this pandemic has brought a humanitarian out of a star to the forefront.
And that new entity has overpowered the aura of a star. Sonu Sood has found a new identity in a post-pandemic world as he dedicated himself to the service of common people during Covid. Sending people home, arranging transports for them, making oxygen cylinders available at hospitals... Sonu left no stone unturned to serve the needy people.
What drove Sonu to take up such huge responsibilities? "Life me awakening ki samay aata hai. Agar ata hai, toh aap khud ko khush kismat samajh te ho. (In life, there come certain moments, which make you awake to greater causes. When it comes, you feel blessed). When I was distributing fruits on the streets, I found those people very helpless. They were walking with their kids. Shayad un logo ko jhoot bhi bola hoga, ke hum 2-3 ghanta mein pouch jayenge, jaha 10-12 din unko chalna hoga. (They might have told the kids lies, While they have to walk for days, they have said it will take 2-3 hours.) I felt that I need to help those people. My story started with 350 people, whom I have sent to Karnataka by 10 buses", said Sonu in his exclusive interview with ANI.
It was not at all an easy task to get permission from the concerned authorities for those 350 people. "They said they need covid test reports of 350 people. They need NOC certificates from the areas where they belong as well as the states from where the buses would ply. It took two days to get all the permissions. Those people felt like someone from their own family has come to see off them. They became emotional. They told me, they would come to say thank you when everything falls into place. Meri life me jaise slow motion ho gayi thi. I felt like ye kahani sirf 350 logo ki nehi hai. I made a promise to my family, until I send the last migrant back to his home, I won't take rest," Sonu was speaking at a length.
He continued, "For 5-6 months, I work tirelessly for 20-22 hours each day. Desh mein sab ke pas mera number tha. (Everyone in the country has got my number). Ghar ke niche 4-5 hajar logo ki bhir reheti thi. Police reheti tha, itni logo ki bhir samhalne ke liye. Gari me leke logo ke le jata tha. Jaha par ye shoot ho raha hai, iske pas hi mera hotel hai, waha par only migrant hi rehta tha. Woh ek journey thi. Pata nehi kaisa ho raha tha. Shayad Uparwale ne shakti di thi. (At least 4-5 thousand people used to throng at my house every day. Police were there to manage the crowd. I used to send people by car. There's a hotel of mine, very near to this studio. Only migrants used to live at the hotel at that point of time. I don't know how these things happened. Perhaps, God endowed me with some special power.)
Not only the buses, Sonu made the migrants board train, and planes as well. "In a train, 1,155 people are legally allowed to board. But I have made 3-4 thousand people board at that time. The TTs used to say, 'hamari naukri chali jayegi'. I told them, "If these people don't get boarded now, they will die here." So the officials helped me a lot."
Sonu said, "When we didn't get permission for the buses, we arranged flights. First I made the arrangement for 79 girls, who were stranded. From Georgia, Philipines, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, I have brought medical students home."
Not only, common people, one MP from Madhya Pradesh asked for Sonu's help as his children were stranded abroad. "I told him, Sir, aap toh MP ho. Mujhe aap se madat magni chahiye. He said, aap ki awaz suni ja rahi hai. (You are an MP. How am I to help you? He said, your voice is being heard. We brought those kids back. I feel God was guiding me in some way," said Sonu with all humility.
During the Delta wave, people used to wonder how Sonu got people admitted to hospitals. "From the peon to ward boy to nurse to junior doctor, to senior doctors to management, I used to keep in touch with all people."
During this time, Sonu's wife stood by him. "There was a separate room for me those days. I used to sanitize all my personal belongings before entering the room. Waha par hi sota tha, waha se hi chala jata that. (I used to sleep in that room)"
We heard stories of stars becoming messiahs. But Sonu Sood proved that reality is truer than fiction. (ANI)