Sunday, December 30, 2007

Feel Good Factor

Every once in a while, you get a chance to make a small difference to the lives of others, and do something that really makes you feel good from within.....

Travelling in a Mumbai local is an experience like no other. Mumbai's local trains and their stations, are places that defy Newtonian Laws; where displacement can take place without application of force, and every push can result in two equal and opposite shoves. Local trains are not meant for the faint hearted, the slow and old, and the physically challenged.

I had just disembarked from one such jam packed local train at Kanjur Marg station, and landed on a platform bustling with a sea of people jostling to take the next arriving local. One does not usually pay attention to people around, in the middle of such a crowd. But for some odd reason, my eyes fell on a middle aged couple trying to make sense out of the madness at the station. After a fraction fo a second, I realised that both of them were blind, and were struggling to find their way around. Just as I was wondering how the visually challenged couple would be able to make their way into a train overflowing with people, things got worse for them. As the blind man extended his wooden stick forward to check the boundry of the platform, it hit the corner of the platform and fell onto the railway tracks.

How would the man get his stick back, I thought. With a local train arriving every 5 minutes or so, there was no way he would himself be able to jump into the tracks and pick his stick up within the short time, specially since he would also not able to see a fast approaching train. Without his stick, he would not be able to navigate his way to any other place either, specially since his female companion was also blind.

When I got down onto the tracks at the end of the platform to cross over to the other side, I jogged upto the place where the man's stick had fallen, picked it up, and handed it over to him. Even as the blind man and woman thanking me, I rushed to the other side of the tracks.

While I walked away from the scene, I began wondering what would have happened had I not helped the blind man. Perhaps some other commuter would have picked the stick up for him. Perhaps someone else would have helped him get into the train.
The man I helped could not even see me. He did not hear my voice. He did not know my name either. He will probably even forget that someone picked his stick from the railway tracks very soon.
But I still felt happy to have helped him.

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