“For as long as we can remember, our father used to bring money home and our mother would take care of the expenses,” said Aadil, 22, son of Aarif Khan, an ambulance driver who died of Covid-19 early Saturday morning. With their father gone and the family left with no savings, well-wishers stepped in to help Sunday after The Indian Express reported on Khan’s life and work.
“I am now incharge of the household,” said Asif, 27, Aarif’s elder son, who has been unemployed for eight months. A day after their father’s death, a number of individuals and organisations tried to help the family by raising money — Rs 3.12 lakh had been deposited into Asif’s account by the end of the day.
“I will try to cover my family’s expenses for the next few years with this. Our biggest concern was the monthly rent of Rs 9,000,” said Asif. The family lives in a two-room Seelampur home.
While friends and relatives visited the house to pay their condolences, the ambulance driver was in the hearts and minds of many throughout the country on Sunday.
Among the crowdfunders was Ankit Gupta, 28, a poet and content writer turned crowdfunder. “I spoke to the family and they broke down… people have been reaching out to me wanting to help.”
The family spends between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000 per month on food and other expenses. Since Asif lost his job, the family has tried to limit expenditure to Rs 15,000. “Even when our father was staying at the ambulance parking lot, he ensured money was credited to our mother’s account so she could run the house.” Aarif would stay away so his family wasn’t exposed to Covid. His colleagues say he helped transport 200 bodies.
Aarif’s daughters got married a few years ago and have children.
The brothers said their mother has been unwell since Saturday and is still unable to come to terms with his death.
Before the lockdown, Asif had a job at a garment company and has not been able to get work ever since.Aadil has meanwhile been learning how to repair fridges at a store near his house. “I do not have plans to study further. I want to work as a mechanic so I can sustain myself and my family,” he said.
According to colleagues, Khan, who ferried Covid patients and carried its victims for last rites, would often pitch in with money if a family was in need.
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