The epitome of kindness: Preeti Sundar (By Heera Nawaz)

Heera Nawaz
Preeti Sundar

"An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it is going to launch you into something great. So, just focus and keep aiming.” These words of advice could be the words of wisdom espoused by Preeti Sundar from Bengaluru, India, who has done magnanimous work for Senior Citizens, quarantined families, and particularly helped women and children in distress.

A born leader with genuine compassion, Preeti has galvanized the support of approximately 35 women to help provide free meals to the Senior Citizens and quarantined families of her apartment  Brigade Millennium and other neighbouring apartments in J.P.Nagar.. Terming themselves the `Friendly Neighbourhood Group’, Preeti and her band of volunteers started their work  during the pandemic.  Preeti and her heam knew that several Senior Citizens would be at a disadvantage as their maids and cooks had stopped working during the lockdown last year. Preeti and her sister Priya had floated this idea they having HR and admin backgrounds and did everything very  professionally with a human touch.

Preeti would send around a roster the previous evening and the ladies would enter the items they would bring the next day and for which meal, i.e., breakfast, lunch or dinner. They were careful while dealin with the diet specifications of Senior Citizens and not just “what they wanted to eat”. Since tea shops and canteens were closed, they saw to it that they provided tea and snacks to the security guards and housekeeping staff of the  apartment. All the women were wary of the Covid precautions and they wore masks, sanitized their hands after dealing with the quarantined families and saw to it that food was prepared in disposable containers and trays.

All this without taking any money, the women working with a sense of commitment, cooking delicious meals as it they are cooking for their own family  members. They never complained, nor did they get complaints!What exactly is the mindset behind Preeti’s selfless sense of compassion when most families were just cooling their heels and relaxing during the lockdown?

Preeti attributes her sense of service and compassion to having been brought up in Calclutta where she did her schooling and college and was inspired by Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity as well as stalwarts like Florence Nightingale and educationists like Rabindranath Tagore. Moreover, she says that she is a truly secular Indian  having been born in Delhi, brought up in Calcatta, and married and lived in Mumbai.

She further says that she is a Tamilian from Kerala (Palghat Iyer) currently staying in Bengaluru. Truly a universal citizen!Preeti’s sense of service and sacrifice did not end with the pandemic or when the lockdown was lifted. Her kindness and service extended to the Senior Citizens now during the phase of vaccinations where many of the Senior Citizens are not computer savvy and have no idea about usage of apps like Arogya Setu or Co-Win on smart phones or even what an OTP is.

Since many of them don’t have their tech savvy modern children and grandchildren with them, they were helped in registration for vaccination by Preeti and her team  right from continuously trying to get the registration (since the link was busy)  to actually ferrying and transporting some of the Senior Citizens to the nearby hospitals for vaccinations, armed with their aadhar cards with correct address and mobile phone information.

Truly, this is a case of `Love thy neighbour’ Yet, despite Preeti’s sense of fashion and style, she is very much a grass-root feminist at heart. A member of Sreemoyee’s Status Stingle FB and whatsapp group, Preeti is quick to show solidarity to disadvantaged or discriminated women and is quick to galvanize her followers for a cause. She provided lunch for the entire J.P Nagar Police Station who required some Covid-related assistance to garner help from students. Here too she offered her helping hand and for this timely help she was conferred an award from the Karnataka Government for exemplary service during the Covid pandemic. She is a media favourite both in print media and  radio. I ask her what is the best way of helping women, she says to teach them a workskill by which they can learn a trade and earn a livelihood anywhere. “If you truly love and care for a women, don’t give her fish; teach her how to fish.” she signs off.

By Heera Nawaz

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