Guardians of the City: Mumbai's unsung heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Covid-19 outbreak has altered our lives in many ways. While work from home has become the new normal for many, some others have to be at the frontline to ensure the disease does not spread or essential supplies are not hit. Forbes India features some bravehearts who are risking their lives outdoors so others remain safe within their homes.

Anjan Das
Published: May 9, 2020 08:14:00 AM IST
Updated: May 9, 2020 01:10:21 PM IST

Design Director, Forbes and Forbes Life India, typography/design buff; Home chef; loves blues & rock 'n roll; biking; traveller and a foodie! A sucker for typography, striking visuals, a perfect colour palate and the right choice of type are always top on my checklist.I love conversations on design, be it conventional or out of the box; classy or anarchic; cleaner or clutter; print or digital; product or industrial. Would love to connect from time to time.

dr aastha khurana-20200428-wa0017-newImage: Dr Catherine Samraj

Aasthaa Khurana
Age: 31
Designation: Resident doctor, department of anaesthesia, Saifee Hospital
Work duration: 8-10 hours

Most doctors and nurses who are working through the day and night in PPEs, risking their lives, skipping meals and challenging themselves physically and emotionally while treating Covid-19 patients, feel it’s worth every minute. “That feeling of saving someone makes everything better,” says Khurana. “It’s a joy to know that, as medical workers, we have made a difference in people’s lives.”

nisha chavan_0364Image: Anjan Das

Nisha Chavan
Age: 27
Designation: Sub inspector, Kherwadi police station, Bandra (East)
Work duration: 12-15 hours

Chavan commutes 30 km each way everyday, from Vashi in Navi Mumbai to her workplace in Bandra (East), to report to work. The 27-year-old would have it no other way as she leads a team of constables in maintaining law and order during the lockdown.

sachin ankush dhuri_img_0394Image: Anjan Das

Sachin Ankush Dhuri
Designation: Bus driver, BEST
Work duration: 8-12 hours

While ferrying passengers on the highway, Dhuri keeps a steady supply of biscuits and water in the bus to feed the poor on the streets. Growing up in a household with limited means, he knows the value of every morsel for the underprivileged. He’s happy that, in his own way, he’s been able to help during these tough times.

pravin shivaji patil_img_0442Image: Anjan Das

Pravin Shivaji Patil
Designation: Police naik
Work duration: 12 hours

A traffic cop, Patil patrols across Bandra throughout the day. Recently, he went beyond his call of duty to help an accident victim, rushing her to the nearby hospital. Helping people on the road during the lockdown is on his priority list, he says.

rakesh sharma_img_0405Image: Anjan Das

Rakesh Sharma
Designation: Owner, Jai Chemist, Santa Cruz (East)
Work duration: 13 hours

Working at a medicine store can be challenging in times like these: With travel restrictions and limited supplies, it becomes tough to meet the demands of each customer. But Sharma thanks the authorities for the seamless allotment of emergency passes (like the one hanging from his neck) that have helped him and many others travel back and forth at odd hours to replenish stocks and help those in need.

vasant kumar arumugam_0510Image: Anjan Das

VasantKumar Arumugam Devendran
Designation: BMC worker
Work duration: 9 hours

It’s a tough life being a garbage and sanitation worker, going around neighbourhoods not knowing where danger lurks in the unhygienic conditions that he has to work with. But Devendran doesn’t think twice about doing his job diligently. What’s his motivation to risk his own health every day? “Many others will fall sick if we don’t keep the neighbourhoods clean,” he says.
 sanjay_0557Image: Anjan Das

Sanjay Manohar Khurakte
Designation: Vegetable vendor and shop owner at Pali Hill market, Bandra (West)
Work duration: 6 hours

For Khurakte, there are now two kinds of people: Those who appreciate him for the steady supply of essentials through the lockdown, and those who chide him for not giving a discount. Sleep-deprived, he ventures out for vegetables post-dinner, sourcing from three local markets between 10 pm and 2 am. He regrets not spending enough time with his wife and kids but making a living during these troubled times is equally necessary.

Coordinated by: Ameya Damle, Inega Talent & Production

Click here to see Forbes India's comprehensive coverage on the Covid-19 situation and its impact on life, business and the economy‚Äč

(This story appears in the 22 May, 2020 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from To visit our Archives, click here.)

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