Blind telephone operator at Mumbai hospital gets a call from Uddhav Thackeray, says have to fight in time of crisis
“At first I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that the chief minister of our state Uddhav Thackeray wanted to talk to me. I was so happy when he introduced himself,” says Raju Chavan, a telephone operator at Mumbai’s St. George Hospital.
On Monday around 12:30 PM, Raju Chavan was busy attending phone calls in his booth at the hospital when he suddenly received a special call which left him shocked for a few minutes.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had called him to appreciate the level of dedication Chavan had shown at the time of the coronavirus crisis.
“At first he told me his name and then he said congratulations Raju you are doing great work despite being visually impaired. I was so happy to hear the words,” says Chavan. He adds that now his responsibility has increased even further.
“These days the phone just doesn’t stop ringing. Families of patients aren’t allowed inside the hospital so they all call us to ask for updates. I gather information and answer them or transfer calls. This is a time of crisis so I don’t miss any calls,” a proud Chavan says.
When we asked if he felt that somebody could be playing a prank on him by pretending to be Uddhav Thackeray, he said, “Knowing the personality of the CM and his style of appreciating even the smallest of the worker, I was sure it was him when I heard his voice. But the credit of good work also goes to all the health staff of the hospital who are working day-night for the patients.”
What sets Raju Chavan apart from his other colleagues is the fact that while others took Covid-19 emergency leave, he stood his ground even during the lockdown and traveled from his house in suburban Jogeshwari to the hospital which took him 2.5 hours every day.
He says, “During the lockdown, there were no trains but buses were ruining for essential staff, so I came to work daily as I knew this is a time of crisis and we all have to be one in this fight. Many times the police and doctors would give me a ride to the bus stop, so I am thankful to them.”
Today he’s being talked about in Mumbai for his dedication to work but Raju says that his only wish is to see Mumbai as a virus-free city. And this dedicated Covid warrior has a message for the CM Uddhav Thackeray as well, “Keep doing the good work that you are doing and in future do even better.”