Tuesday, December 23, 2014

@DNA, humanity beyond journalism

Yesterday night I had one of the most scary experiences of my life. I am a regular with the mumbai local and contrary to the regular criticism about the mumbai locals, I am in fact a great lover of my daily travels to work in my beloved Mumbai local.  Besides being economical, quicker and pollution free, it is also a great reservoir of stories of empathy, community spirit and in general, human nature.

But every service has its pit falls and slip ups.  I embarked on my regular late night train travel from Reay Road station. It was just another late day at work. I took the train at 1140 to panvel. I boarded the first class compartment which had a dozen odd  people. The train went smooth sailing in  complete steam till chunabhati station... A little beyond chunabhati it suddenly stopped. It didn't bother me much as delay is the middle name of Harbour Line of the central railways but as it took longer, it was getting frustrating. There were young commuters, presumably in their mid twenties who jumped down the train and walked from the deserted place where the train had stopped towards kurla station.  There was an aged  man who was in the train who was unable to jump and walk the tracks. I decided to stay with him in the train. In half an hour, the compartment just had the aged man and me, or so, I thought. I was wrong, just behind my seat was a young man who in all possibility was a drug addict who was in no control of his senses. He was continuously blabbering that he will kill, he will bomb and slaughter those who ill treated him.  The immediate emotion  was not of scare but of empathy, but as silences enveloped the compartment and his voice got stronger along with the the whistling of the untimely wind, the other emotion took over. It was 01:10 am  the dead of the night. I was glad that i was in a city that never sleeps, but the ones who were awake were better sleeping. I wanted to get down the train the train, but as I peeped out of the train, there were a group of drunken rowdies who were howling louder than rabid wolves. The thought of risking them did pass my mind, but then i looked back at the aged gentleman, he wouldn't be able to jump to the tracks and walk right till the station. We were clearly trapped between the devil and the deep sea. I chose to risk my judgements on the mentally unstable person rather.

A firm believer of "share it to diminish it, if not demolish it", I took to facebook to share my fears and that made all the difference. Within seconds there was an outpouring of empathy especially from my friends in the field of journalism.  What touched me most, was that I received an immediate message from Yogesh Pawar, assistant editor of DNA offering to speak to a cop he knows  at tilak nagar station. He further asked me to take a cab and come down to his place and that his wife and he would be happy to have me over and also treat me with some sambhar rice. It was 1ish in the night. It is easy to dismiss something as lip service, but he was serious. He also spoke to me over the phone and ask me not to be heroic but understand that anyone in such a situation could be vulnerable. As I took a few minutes more to decide the train miraculously started surging ahead. I dont believe much in god, unless I need to ask something from no one but the universe   and need to put a figurative name for an unknown force  there, but I am a firm believer in the genesis of good vibes and thoughts that manifest in positive reactions. Thanks to people like yogesh, in a world increasingly ridden with slaughter and hatred, the total sum of positivity will always remain a constant.

Thank you Yogesh. And congrats DNA and the Zee Media Group for having him as a part of your family.

Yogesh, you have covered many human interest stories in your life that have pushed the envelope of equality, empathy and justice, I thought the best way to say thank you for what you did yesterday would be to reply to your kindness in the same written word.

(I know this post maybe ridden with grammatical errors, but I'd rather keep it in its virgin heartfelt firstthoughts form)

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