We were preparing to leave Kalinagar for Sehara Radhanagar. We’d been warned in advance that the 12 km van-rickshaw journey would be risky as the road was mostly underwater. Heeding the warning, we were making ourselves safe on the van when suddenly we heard a strong yet calm voice behind us, “where are you people coming from?”
We hadn’t seen the face, yet but the powerful voice sent a wave of intimidation through us. We turned back to find an elderly man, possibly in his eighties approaching us. His T-shirt was half pulled over his chest. He carried a long stick with something tied behind it.
‘From Seva Kendra Kolkata’, we replied, getting down from our safe positions from the van.
Seva Kendra Calcutta with the local support of the voluntary organisation, Ghoshpur Debasish Sebashashram Sangha is providing cooked food for nearly 1,500 flood-affected people in Kalinagar since 29 May 2009. These people are stationed in Ghoshpur Akshaya High School, Ghoshpara Adivasi F. P. School, Kalinagar College and Kalinagar Daspara.
Dipendra Burman, the member of Ghoshpur Debasish Sebashashram Sangha, explained to our friend that the cooked food that they were receiving everyday was being provided by Seva Kendra, a Caritas partner.
The man paused for some time with his hands resting on his hips, examined us closely and then in that same powerful yet calm voice said, ‘aapnara na thakle, mara pore jetam’ (we would have died had you not been here beside us).
This was Satish Mali. His current address; Ghoshpur Akshaya High School. Since the time Aila snatched away everything from them on 25 May, he and many like him were totally dependent on the cooked food that was being provided by Seva Kendra Calcutta.
Satish Mali was visibly grateful for this support. He smiled and blessed us for the wonderful work that was being done. We re-boarded our van and settled to safe positions. The van began moving. Satish Mali stood there for as long he could see, with a smile on his