The News Reporter was walking down the empty street in the wee hours of morning, as he spotted her sitting on the pavement.
A forlon looking, frail, oldish woman, wearing just a blouse and a weather beaten, petticoat. There was a bundle lying besides her, just off the footpath on the side of the road.
As the Reporter got closer he could make out the tired look on the face of the woman.
He approached the woman trying to make out what was in the bundle
“Hey, is everything alright?”, he asked more out his professional curiosity than out of concern.
The weary eyed woman looked up at him. “Beta, can you please help me move this to the pavement, I am unable to move it by myself, buddhi ho gayi hun na, Beta”, she said pointing towards the bundle, which was wrapped in an old much used saree.
“Sure”, said the Reporter as he began to bend to pick up one side of the rather large bundle, “Whats in it”
The woman calmly pulled back the cloth over the bundle to reveal the lifeless face of a young girl.
Taken aback the Reporter said, “Oye !! Woman !! What are you doing with the body of a girl in the middle of the street”
“Beta, I am trying to pull this young girl on the pavement but she is too heavy for me to do it alone”, she said again.
This is NEWS, the Reporter thought, as he quickly pulled out his phone and started his video recorder.
“Okay, so is she your daughter…..errr grand daughter?”, he asked the woman.
“No Beta, she is not related to me”, she said.
“Accha, so what is her name?”, the reporter persisted.
“Beta, I dont know her name”, the woman replied.
“Is she a Muslim? A Dalit? Is she from your Community?”, the Reporter continued, trying to find an angle for his story.
“I dont know Beta, I dont know her at all. When I came here she was lying in the middle of the street. Her clothes were tattered and her body was badly bruised. I put my saree on her to cover her up.”, she replied calmly.
“Oh, so did you inform the Cops?? You should always inform the cops!!”, he exclaimed.
“A Policewala did come by a few hours back. And he said, ‘Ye kya sadak ke beech mein baithi ho? Chalo side mein hatao ye sab warna danda maarunga’, before he went away”, she said close to exhaustion now.
“Damn it !! This is Police Inaction !! Outrageous”, the Reporter said, convinced that he has finally found his headline, “But tell me one thing. You dont know the girl, she is not even from your community. Then why are you sitting her besides her?”
The woman calmly looked up at the young Reporter with a smile on her face which can only come with wisdom and experience.
“Because, tomorrow it might be ME lying there…….”
We often come across situations which we can either ignore or step up and make an effort to help. Sometimes a random act of kindness goes a long way and sometimes it doesnt. But our choice of action defines who we as a person are. So who do you want to be. The Woman who gave up her saree to cover up someone she didnt know? Or the Reporter?
Disclaimer: The Reporter, in this story, is not a generalization of everyone in that profession and this story is not an attempt to tarnish the image of News Reporters, Police or anyone else. I am sure there are many people in those professions who do a great job.