Last few weeks have been tough for Akshay Kothawale, a 30-year-old auto-rickshaw driver in Pune, who has been applauded on social media for providing food to those in economic distress amid the coronavirus lockdown. The pandemic delayed his wedding, and he used his meagre savings to help the poor. His father died of a heart attack while he was busy providing relief to stranded migrants last month. Despite the personal tragedy and dwindling funds, his drive to help has not diminished.
"Even though I have lost my own father, I can't see the pain of others on the road," Mr Kothawale, who continued serving the poor even after his father's death, tells NDTV.
Mr Kothawale had saved Rs 2 lakh for his wedding but when it didn't take place because of the lockdown, he decided to put the money to better use - feeding migrant workers in Pune.
"I would announce from my rickshaw to the migrants and those working at construction sites (for food)...This virus has come into over lives suddenly. They are citizens of our own country. We all are brothers and sisters and only because of this feeling, I decided to donate food," he adds.
Mr Kothawale's selfless service and unrelenting generosity has resonated with people on social media. While he has been praised, many have also come forward to help him in his endeavour. Celebrity chef Vikas Khanna, currently in New York, also asked about him on Twitter.
For those who want to help Akshay Kothawale, here are his bank details.
Name: Akshay Sanjay Kothawale
Bank: Canara Bank
Branch: Camp MG Road, Pune
IFSC CODE: CNRB0000316
Account Number: 0316101233394