Hey stubborn people!
We are back again this week with another tale of stubbornness but this time it’s not at all about the monetary success it is rather about the stubbornness for making the world a better place, the passion to bring a smile on every gloomy face and the will to do everything that it takes.
We are talking about a 19 year old boy from Udaipur, Rajasthan with a golden heart. At this young age, he has already set up an organization named “Mercy League”. Till date mercy league has already saved 350 lives through their blood donation camps and emergency donations and helped thousands to get the basic amenities of life at their door.
As a person Mantavya has a very humble personality, but in his golden heart he bears the passion for helping those who can not help themselves. His enthusiasm for helping others is unmatched and whenever the circumstances stop him, he stands whole heartedly to combat every situation that’s why today we are sharing his tale with you.
Come with us on this journey of determination to bring happiness in others lives, and willingness to sacrifice everything for bringing smiles on every face.
The Star Kid In Making
I was born in November 2000, in a typical middle class family with loving parents and a caring elder brother. I have had a merry childhood with my family and I think the seeds of kindness were sown in those years.
Till the age of 10-11 I was a complete introvert and didn’t have a very big friend circle around me but one thing that changed me a lot was travel. Our school used to organize school trips almost every year and I always tried to go on those trips. When you travel with people you get to know about them and that evolves you, and even today I always try to travel.
While travelling you also incur situations that pull you out of your comfort zones and in those situations, how you react and coordinate with people around you, shapes your personality.
Through these trips and communications, I slowly became an extrovert and started having conversations and eventually ended making friends who have been with me ever since. When I came to the 8th standard, I already had a lot of friends and I started to be the so-called ‘Star kid’ of the class but I never wanted to be the star kid, I always wanted genuine friendships and I had formed a lot of them.
Till the 8th standard, I was your average Indian ‘cool-kid’ but the next year changed my life…
In January or may be February of 2016, when I was in 9th standard, I was demanding a smartphone from my parents and they denied it for about a month. At that age, we don’t realize that a smartphone for a teenager is not a necessity, it is a mere extravagance that we just want to have to look cool in front of our friends.
So I kept pushing them, but I gladly say my parents held their ground very firmly and kept refusing me. One day I decided to bunk the school, just because I was bummed with the fact that I was not going to get a smartphone.
The morning we decided to bunk, the weather was biting cold, we wore almost 5 layers of clothing to fight that bleak weather and yet we were shivering. I and a friend of mine decided that we will go to Pipliya Ji in the morning and will be back by the bell time of the school.
Pipliya ji is one of the loftiest peaks around Udaipur, in the bleak winter mornings there is so much fog that visibility is very low and so is the temperature. It is about a 40-45 min ride from Udaipur, so me and my friend went there on a scooty.
The road from Udaipur to Pipliya Ji is not yet a paved road, there are narrow mud lanes and on the side is a lush green valley. We were riding towards the top and suddenly in the light from the headlamp of our scooty, my eyes saw a little child on the side of that narrow lane.
The child was about 5-6 years old, but there was not even a single clout of cloth on his body, and he was shivering very badly because the intense cold was unforgiving. I looked at him for a moment and then we moved ahead but it was stuck in my mind that, What is wrong with him? Why would someone roam naked on the lane in such a biting cold.
We didn’t even go a 100 meters ahead of where we saw the child and we took a U-turn because I was utterly stricken by the visual. When we came back, we sat with the child and asked him why he was roaming naked on such a cold morning? We got to know that his parents were daily wage workers in the city and they had to leave him and his siblings alone and they were so poor that they could not afford to have clothes. We are not even mature enough to give the clothes we were wearing to him and I still regret why we didn’t do that.
In that particular moment, I started to regret every single moment of my life that I had spent demanding something or the other from my parents and god. I was so struck by the fact that ‘There are people who can’t even fulfill the most basic needs of life and on the other hand we, who are privileged, always run after luxury’.
This thought changed my whole perspective towards life, I was no longer the kid who would pressure his parents for things that were not even necessary.
I kept thinking about this for months and I concluded that we were privileged enough to help someone get some basic needs of life and we should help them because we owe a lot to society and it is our duty to give something back.
The ‘Mercy League’
The thought of doing something good for the society dwelled in my mind for about ten months before I finally told my friends about it because I was worried about how they would take the idea so I accumulated the guts to break the ice.
In November 2016, ten months after the incident, I decided that it was time to tell them about it. After school, on a windy afternoon we gathered at one of my friends’ place. We sat down and I shared the idea with them.
I am so proud that I have friends who are hearty enough to help others. When I shared the idea with them they not only appreciated the idea but they also very enthusiastically participated and shared their ideas to add on that. That was the day ‘The Mercy League’ was found.
The name mercy league also has a story behind it. We were thinking about something that meant ‘on the way to mercy’ and coincidentally we stumbled upon Mercy league and as it rhymed with the famous movie series ‘Justice League’, so this name just stuck in our heads because even if we are working for the good of the society , we still are teenagers.
We decided that we want to do something about the basic necessities Roti, Kapda aur Makaan. At the age of 15-16, we couldn’t do anything for Makaan but we could start with clothes. We clubbed all the unused clothes and we decided to distribute clothes to those who needed them.
The immense satisfaction we used to get, when we saw small kids smiling because of the clothes we gave them, is what kept us moving to do more and more.
Our First Blood Donation Camp
In March 2017, when we were taking our 10th board exams, we realized that in the burning heat of Rajasthan’s arid summers, two strong needs pop up one that everyone is concerned about and the other that is often overlooked.
Everyone knows about the water shortage we face and even there are people who take serious efforts but the other one is blood. In the rural areas, the people are not even healthy enough to donate blood, so whenever someone needs blood for treatment they resort to the government blood banks.
I live near the government hospital in Udaipur, so I got to know about all these problems. I discussed with all my friends they also acknowledged the need but the problem was we were all under age for donating blood so we decided to organize a blood donation camp.
As after the exams finish in March we get about 15-20 days of gap before the school reopens. We decided that we will organize a blood donation camp on 30th April 2017.
We were 12-15 excited kids with no knowledge of how a blood donation camp is organised. So we started out with reaching people and inspiring them to come and donate blood on 30th April. We used to go to the Fateh Sagar Lake (a famous lake in the heart of the city of Udaipur) and talked to people who were sitting there and talked to them. We used to say punchlines like “करके देखो अच्छा लगता है ” or “आप के जाने के बाद भी आपका खून किसी की रगों मे दौड़ेगा ”. Some people used to react positively, some were amazed by our effort and there were even people who mocked us but eventually our goal was spreading the word and that was being accomplished.
Now to organize the camp, we needed a place, a medical team, beds for the donors and also various things for donors to eat after donating blood. This all would have cost us around Rs.5000 to Rs.7000. It was very difficult for us to be able to collect that much. We had only two options, one was we take funds from external agencies but we did not want to do that because our camp was aimed only for helping others not for promoting ourselves.
The second option was to pool the resources needed, we agreed upon this one. The father of one of my friends was the President of Sindhi Panchayat, so through him we got the Sindhi Community Hall for one day free of cost and similarly someone had a relative who gave us the beds and other things required, someone else contributed for the fruits needed.
Also as we were doing so many things our seniors in school saw us and then reached out to us saying that they also wanted to help. They helped us get the logo for the mercy league designed and also helped us in various ways.
Through these generous helps and contributions we organised our first blood donation camp on 30th April 2017. We were not expecting high numbers because of the various stereotypes in our community about donating blood but we ended up getting 101 unit donations, this was a big accomplishment at that time.
This gave us a huge motivation and in the past three years we have organised 4 blood donation camps with the highest donation of 158 units in a single day. We always look forward to opportunities to once and again organize blood donation camps.
What Are We Doing Now
In the past three years, Mercy League has evolved a lot but our prime objective was always one and only, To form a link between ‘Neeyati(who wants to help) and ‘Nimit(who seeks help)’’. Today, we are working towards five initiatives, which are
Blood Donation Camps
As I told you, we organize blood donation camps through which those who need blood have been helped. Also we are involved in providing poor and needy patients with blood at the time of requirement. Through this we have been able to help to save more than 350 lives.
Health Checkup Camps
We reach the remote areas and villages where the medical care has not been able to reach till date. With close coordination to doctors and medical teams we try to provide rural people with free check ups including general body check ups, blood tests ,eye checkups , oral check ups leading to diagnosis of any disease they have.
We also accompany them towards free treatment of their ailments through government hospitals.
To enlighten the lives of those living in the darkness of lack of knowledge we come forward. We collect clothes and books donated by people from around the city.
We distribute the clothes to the needy people in the villages according to the requirements. We reutilise the money from selling old books to buy new stationary for kids living in villages.
The Artist Within
We believe that classrooms bind our perspectives so to give the children living in rural areas, slums and child care an overall development, we have taken this initiative.
We help children enhance their artistic abilities through art and craft techniques. We also inculcate moral values through stories and non competitive games where they learn values like team work, honesty and other values a good person should have.
General Awareness Program
We organize these programs once and again to work towards different causes. We try to spread awareness among those who have not been exposed to this knowledge.
Also we collaborate with other NGOs for greater good. We have worked towards tree plantation in association with Pukaar Foundation.
These are our different initiatives under which we have worked till date. We also welcome suggestions and proposals from you guys, you contact us from the links given below.
What Keeps Us Going?
The smiles on the faces of those we have helped and their kind words give us an ultimate satisfaction and motivation to raise the bar higher everyday. I would like to share some incidents with you through which you can also feel what we feel when we help someone.
First one that I would like to share is about a mother, she had severe blood loss during her delivery. Her family was unable to arrange blood for her treatment. We stepped in and made the arrangements for them and eventually her life was saved.
One thing that we have realized is that villagers are really very hearty and they have a lamb like innocence. So when the mother’s life was saved, her family insisted that they wanted to do something for us. We refused and they were insisting a lot,so I casually said that “If you want to do something, let us meet the baby whenever possible”.
When we went to the crib to meet the baby, the grandmother of the baby just handed me the baby. The baby was crying out aloud. When the baby came in my hands, he started smiling and it was his first smile in this world and at that moment tears just rolled down my eyes and I felt so happy about being able to do something for these people.
Another incident happened when we were in a rural area distributing clothes to the needy for the winters. An old man came and I handed him a jacket,it was a nice looking one and seemed to be really warm.
He wore the jacket and just moved his hand over the jacket, and his eyes were twinkling and with tears. When we asked him what happened. He just said, this jacket will protect me from the rough weather till the moment I die. This sentence was so powerful that it moved us to do something even better for people like him.
One more incident we would like you to hear, One day we go a call from hospital staff for help and when we went there, we saw a tender but very weak girl named Sugna. She was just 14 and her haemoglobin levels had gone below the threshold and yet she was not given any medical care.She also had lost her mother, so there was no lady in their house to take care of her.
We arranged for her blood transfusion and then I went back home to have my dinner. When I returned, I saw that she was still lying on the bed without blood being transfused. We went to the medical staff and asked them why her treatment did not start yet. They didn’t have any solid answers, they were just trying to beat around the bush. We bashed them and got her treatment started.
Once she got up she said “आज से मेरे दो नहीं तीन भाई है ”. I was very emotional and yet was very happy for her as she was normal again. Even today whenever I crossroads with her brothers, they always call out and try to talk to me and thank me again and again.
These are three out of hundreds of incidents, which keep us moving forward. Personally I follow Kabir a lot. In fact last year I attended Kabir Yatra also. One of his ‘Dohas’ is very close to my heart, it goes…
कबीरा जब हम पैदा हुए, जग हँसा हम रोये |
ऐसी करनी कर चलो, हम हँसे जग रोये ||
This Doha has been with me in my entire journey and my life revolves around it.
My Message For The Kind Hearts
I just want to say that Start it now!, If you keep waiting for the right moment, It might never come, so make this very moment ‘the right moment’ and do whatever you want to because there is no right moment for helping others.
Also I want to tell you that every one of you will have opportunities to make a fundamental change in someone’s else’s life, then take that golden opportunity because if you help someone grow you grow, you will grow 10 times more.
So guys this was the tale of a golden hearted teenager who at the age of 19 has saved more than 300 lives and has brought changes in the lives of more than a thousand people, with his passion for helping them. We should honor his courage and message by implementing it in our own lives.
We should help those who need and even if we could be a medium between those who want to help and those who need the help, we can bring fundamental changes in hundreds of lives.
We will be back next with a new tale that would inspire you from within till then
Stay Passionate, Stay Stubborn