mid-day impact: Mumbaikars come together to help roadside engineer

Updated: Dec 10, 2016, 08:32 IST | Aparna Shukla

For once, instead of sitting around and debating till cows come home, Mumbaikars decided to come together and help Arun Paurana, a chemical engineering gold medallist, who is currently living on the streets

Mark D’souza brings food for Arun Paurana after reading about him in mid-day. Pics/Poonam Bathija
Mark D’souza brings food for Arun Paurana after reading about him in mid-day. Pics/Poonam Bathija

It's heartwarming to see the city rallying around a cause celebre. For once, instead of sitting around and debating till cows come home, Mumbaikars decided to come together and help Arun Paurana, a chemical engineering gold medallist and a pioneer in making CNG gas stations, who is currently living on the streets, and was reported about in mid-day.

Sallauddin Patel of Azad Hawkers Union tried to help Arun Paurana
Sallauddin Patel of Azad Hawkers Union tried to help Arun Paurana

Recap from four days ago, when Paurana fled from an ashram his friends had put him up in, and started living on the streets, to now where the mid-day report has pulled in people, who are not only offering him food and money, but are also all ready to help him shift to Vapi in Gujarat — the city he eventually wants to live in.

Shift to Vapi
Azad Hawkers Union president (Borivli), Sallauddin Patel, said, “When I read about Arun sir, I immediately went there and offered him shelter and food, but he doesn’t want to move from there.”

What we as citizens should do is that we should not ignore issues like these after some time has passed. Instead, in this case, what we need to do is find permanent solutions. He has taken my number, and whenever he wishes to move to Vapi, we will make first class arrangements for him.”

Also making a comeback: Paurana’s friend Bhaskar Tanna, who visited him outside the Mangal Kunj building — once Paurana’s home — soon after the mid-day report. “It’s amazing what unites the city. Arun told me how people have been coming forward to extend all kinds of help to him. He has even xeroxed a copy of the newspaper and kept it by his side. Now, all I hope is that we all can help him find a good and peaceful place to live in,” Tanna said.

Since 10 am, people started gathering round, offering him food, clothes and money. Ankit Shah, an aspiring chemical engineering student, explained his presence with, “Soon after I read about him, I felt I needed to meet him. His story is very inspiring.”

Meanwhile, Mark D’Souza, who provides free daily tiffin to the elderly, has promised to bring justice to the man.

“He was delighted to eat some hot, homemade food. He seems like an awfully educated man, I will provide him tiffin whenever he wants. Moreover, it’s time for politicians to come together and take him to the hospital. One can’t just leave him to die in the winters,” he said, referring to the accident that has rendered Paurana immobile for the time being.

Yet another local Nilofar Attar spent hours with Arun, trying to understand where it all went south for him and how we as citizens could help him.

She said, “I don’t understand how families can do this. No matter what went wrong, you cannot leave your parent on the road when he’s met with an accident. It’s unbelievable.”

Need for wheels
Meanwhile, Paurana, overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, told mid-day, “I’m sending one copy to my wife, and another to my son. I know that they will feel bad, but I want them to know my condition. I also want to thank all the people coming in for the love and support they have shown.”

Point of note: He needs a wheelchair to be mobile again after his accident, so willing donors could visit him at Mangal Kunj building in Borivli.

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