Friday, May 25, 2007

A helping hand

Travel has it seems become a huge part of my daily routine. Sitting in the Bus and Subway and catching up on a snooze or listening to songs, oblivious to the hundreds of people around is now second nature. But then again , this is probably the story of every person in a major city! On my way back from office today, as I got into the subway, I noticed a man slumped in the seat, fast asleep, with his hand on his stomach. So as usual no one wanted to be seated near him. People it seems avoid anything that can become remotely uncomfortable. I wonder if the man was drunk, that's the first assumption isn't it? or maybe he was just really tired from a hard day of work...but hell no one dared to go near him....let him be...all by himself..till the very last stop...and even then...no one dared to go near and wake him up....I wonder if I am a coward like everyone else in some way or the other....or have I become that cold? With those thoughts running thru my mind, I boarded the bus for the next phase of my journey. A few stops later, a man boarded the bus, limping, using his hands to pull himself up, at the same time, trying to balance the shopping load. He had a huge knee brace on...so he stretched out...and people just kept bumping into him...unconcerned..cold! When his stop came, he got up and tried to step down the three steps to the ground....I never knew that taking three steps is perhaps the most daunting thing in a man's life. He struggled and struggled , unable to take a single step....but no one got up to help him...even I sat there...in waiting to see what he does. But I couldnt stand it anymore...couldnt face the voice within asking me to help this man....so I got up, and asked if I could help by holding his shopping bags, so he can use his arms to help himself down....at the same time the driver came to help ...not out of concern...but knowing he wold be in trouble if this man hurt himself. I got off the bus a few stops ahead...and I turned back to see....a few people looking at me from the passing bus window...thier eyes cold!..while I walked away feeling the warmth!

6 comments:

Kalparaj said...

May be what we consider to be cold, the American culture defines it as taking care of other's dignity.

I remember an incident when I was coming back from Manhattan late in the night. I saw a guy vomiting near the PATH station. Understandably he was too drunk to his capacity and seemed to be out of control. I and couple of my friends went near him to offer help (which goes against the American culture). Quite predictably he was in no mood to accept help. Something told us to stay in there and stuck to our job. When he felt better, we helped him walk up the stairs and come out of the station. We asked him, if he is OK to be on his own. He confirmed; thanked us and left. It wasn't a mere thanks. it surely reflected in his eyes.

Lesson learnt: We must go beyond cultures, when it doesn't comply to humanity. Perhaps each one of us in someway or the other, is cold to other's sufferings and may be the American culture just facilitates that. So it's up to us, where to draw the line and start listening to our heart. May be more often. :)

Bravo!!!
Kalparaj.

P.S: got your blog link from mouthshut.

Angel's Flight said...

Kalparaj

So you know what I am talking about.....travelling the subway ...u see these things in and out

Have u got used to the fact no one is looking at no one...and if you do see someone looking at you....u wonder wht is wrong...coz they avert their eyes immediately

Thanks a ton for stopping by

Cheers

Ps: boy am I glad for MS

Kalparaj said...

Oh! if I don’t know, then nobody knows....:))....you bet, I do. My mode of journey used to be train+subway though. :)...

Sitting in the Bus and Subway and “catching up” :)) on a snooze...
oblivious to the hundreds of people around...
Man!! I wish I could agree more. And I used to hate every single moment of my traveling. It bloody used to take away three precious hours of my day. (as if am the next Einstein in making ;)..)

“No one looking at no one”...So true. It seems as if the rest of the world just ceases to exist for him/her. In a way I see a positive side to it as well (like respecting other’s privacy)....So I don’t take it as negatively though, but it’s a fact nevertheless.

Lot many interesting things to observe in this country of opportunities. Didn’t get any chance to interact with people on a personal level though. It would have been really exciting to know the thought process. May be I would someday. I would love to see more from you on these lines....an excuse for more interaction :))...

Sequence of events: I used to see your comments here and there on MS, but somehow never cared to go to your profile....dunno y, unusual though.....saw your picture changed couple of days back and I guess you looked lot younger than the previous one. Intrigued, I rushed to your profile and got the link there. And am glad I did it....:))....

cheers!!
Kalparaj.

Rohit said...

you did the right thing.
Had I been in ur place, I wud have done the same, but earlier than u i guess :)

Angel's Flight said...

Kalparaj

BOy am I glad I write on MS!!!...good to see u here...now get more active on MS too!

Angel's Flight said...

Rohit

ur absolutely right....as for earlier...well..thts tough..knowing NY