Renewed hope this Deepavali

Much-needed aid: Munusamy and Puspawathi (centre) receiving gifts from with Thanabalan (left) and other members of Hindudharma Mamandram at their home in Tanjung Bungah, Penang. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: For A. Munusamy and his wife, R. Puspawathi, life has been hard after they both ended up being wheelchair-bound.

Come Deepavali, they sadly plan to just “stay home and watch television”.

Munusamy said he used to run a coconut stall and help sell fish while his wife worked as a stewardess in a hotel.

“In 2017, my toes and left leg from my knee down were amputated due to diabetes and a viral infection.

“She had an accident in 2018 and needed surgery, after which she developed an infection.

“She has been wheelchair-bound ever since and now requires dialysis three times a week,” he said when met at his home in Pepper Estate, Tanjung Bungah.

The couple, both aged 57, has a son who is in Form Five. “So, we need to take care of him. Usually, we cannot make ends meet,” said Munusamy.

“Sometimes, I ask friends, and they help me with RM10 or RM20. I feel bad about reaching out to them.

“Neighbours sometimes share their food with us, but sometimes it is just us managing with bread, rice or instant noodles.

“”My brother lives with us, but he hasn’t been feeling well lately and has stopped working,” he explained.

Their story of despair reached the attention of Malaysia Hindudharma Mamandram Penang branch, which quickly rendered aid in the form of rations, clothing and cash.

An initiative by its women’s wing, its head K. Homalathevy said it would give out such aid to seven families under the B40 category each year.

“We pick seven families each year. We receive information from friends and those who want to refer a family who needs help.

“We make sure they really are in need and then try to get them goodies for Deepavali.

“When people are facing hard times, the last thing they think about is celebrating, but we want them to be able to enjoy the festival.

“We bring clothes and rations, including Deepavali goodies like murukku, snacks and sweets, as well as flour in case the families want to use their own recipes.

“We make sure they have new clothes because it is a tradition to wear new attire for Deepavali and we want them to feel good,” she said.

Chairman N. Thanabalan said they would look out for families without a steady income, those who have many children, are disabled or are single parents.

“We want to show them that we care and we go to their homes and visit them to give them the goodies.

“This is our way of lightening their burden during the festive season,” he said.

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Deepavali bazaar.


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