“Helpline 789” | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 24, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 24, 2008

“Helpline 789”

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It was the 30th night of last December. While asleep after the day's hassles, there had been some noises in the adjacent room which ended with a sentence: 'Dada, Niloy has been vomiting'. Niloy, my four-year old nephew, the only child of my youngest sister, had been in my Dhaka house for some days. Though a little kid, he has some ability in coinage of vocabulary etc. Everyday whenever I do return after my evening walk, Niloy's aunt, my wife, gives an account of what novelty Niloy showed during the day with my family members and people next door.
Hearing of Niloy's illness we got up quickly and found the clock striking three in the morning. With meticulous attention I was trying to guess the seriousness. Within some five minutes Niloy's mother took him to the basin and I observed how the little body was getting crooked while giving out the bowl contents. There was no doubt about the need for emergency medication. I was simply storming my brain thinking what to do, where to go, recalling all my bygone experiences regarding what I did when my own daughter would fall in similar situations. But all my nerves got alerted when Niloy needed the basin again.
Hurry up! Get ready! I pulled my trousers up, wrapped myself with a heavy sweater and muffler to go out in the cold night. Right then my wife told: 'Can't we try helpline? Make a call. Niloy's mother's number is of Grameen. Taking a pen and paper pad I pressed 789.
Was there any ring sound? A male voice retorted: 'Dactar bolchhi'. A computerised voice? No, a human voice that asked about our problem. With much nervousness but great expectations I tried to explain the physical condition of Niloy. After a patient hearing and enquiring, the phone voice prescribed medication and their doses. Moreover, he enquired about my location and asked me to go to Bangladesh-Japan Hospital if the medicines were not available at my home, with comments that the dispensary there remains open throughout the night.
What a possibility! I went to my landlord, took the keys of the main gates, started for the medicines and found a gateman standing at the hospital gate. Hearing that I needed medicine, he opened the collapsible gate and took me to the medicine centre and awoke another one from sleep.
Returning home, we began medication of Niloy, and immediately we found him improving.
I took the pen to write something about the great help from Grameen. All those hours I was only thinking about the French Rules of Good Social Behaviour compiled in 1595, which were later revised by American President George Washington. The rules included: 'Try to keep alive in your breast that little spark of goodness called conscience'. This conscience is the only quality which draws the line between a human and a non-human being.
Thanks to Grameen for keeping that conscience alive to serve the distressed humanity. Let our conscience be active to talk and write more and more about the good efforts, though even their number is few, of our fellow people and organisations. The more we will encourage the good efforts, the higher their numbers will be.
We do not keep in mind that as devils deserve punishment, the honest deserve awards as well. The good souls that sacrifice their time, energy and many other things for others need to be nourished. Otherwise, they might dry up causing great harm to the humanity.

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Grameenphone and Robi:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2222

Banglalink:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2225

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