He is popularly known as the ‘Oxygen Man’ and people hardly know what his real name is. Meet Gaurav Rai, a man with a mission, a man who has so far saved the lives of more than 950 Corona patients by providing them with oxygen cylinders at their homes. Carrying oxygen cylinders in his small WagonR car, Gaurav Rai starts his day as early as 5 am and many days it continues beyond mid-night zooming from one colony to the other, driving his car himself and installing cylinders for the patients who are home-quarantined due to Covid. Gaurav does not charge a penny for this service and he is continuing this noble service for the last one year without a single day break.
It’s this selfless service which has earned him the tag of ‘Oxygen Man’.
Gaurav Rai, who has just completed 52, was himself a Covid patient in July and when he was rushed to the Covid ward of the Patna Medical College Hospital, he could not find a bed for himself. It was the peak of Corona’s first wave and Gaurav found himself beside the staircase of the ward, gasping for breath due to dip in the oxygen level. There were no oxygen cylinders available in the hospital for him and it took five hours for his wife to arrange the oxygen cylinder privately.
That was the turning point for Gaurav Rai. Once he recovered and came back home, he decided to make oxygen — the oxygen of his life and since then he has not rested for a day. The couple pulled in their own money and started a small oxygen bank at the basement of the residence at Patna and as the news spread, help started pouring in from various quarters, mainly by his Facebook & Twitter friends. From a 10 cylinder bank, his oxygen bank now has more than 200 cylinders, many of which are donated by people who appreciate his work and want to contribute.
It’s a tireless process which follows everyday receiving calls at odd hours, loading the cylinder in his small WagonR car and reaching the patient’s place, putting the patient on the oxygen and then when the patient recovers, going back to the place, getting the cylinder back so that it can be sent to someone else in need. And all this for free, not a single penny is charged.
As we are reading about him now, more than 96 cylinders are being used by various patients at their residences. His moderate beginning has now moved out of his residence in Patna and has spread across 18 districts of Bihar. But remember, expanding the oxygen bank is not like growing one’s business — it’s still free of cost.
The story of Gaurav getting into this mission mode as the Oxygen Man is quite inspiring. Merely a year back, in December 2019, the same man was in a suicide mode when paralysis hit his vocal cord and he was unable to speak. Such was the frustration that one night, he walked to the river Ganga, thinking of ending his life. But the time has something else in store for him. Instead of taking his own life, Gaurav became a life savior. His road forward is completely unplanned. The only thing that is certain in his mission that till his resources will last or till he is physically fit to move, he will continue saving lives day and night.