Excuse me, do you have a moment please…?

If you can help – always help. Don’t think. Just help.

Most of us lead such busy lives that we don’t even have time for ourselves. So, we don’t pause to reflect on the challenges people around us are faced with. Perhaps, there is less trust in humanity at one level – so not many want to come forth and offer help. Or, maybe, people don’t have enough time anymore. Or, often times, we don’t even realize that someone around us needs help.

An incident in Chennai on Monday, that has been reported extensively by the media here, holds up a mirror to all of us who are “too busy” to even look up from our own lives’ schedules, forget helping someone.

A 46-year-old man, Augustine, walking by the Adayar river with his wife and two children, suddenly flung his nine-year-old daughter Roshni into the river. He then tried to snatch his seven-year-old son, Joshua, from his wife, Rani, in an attempt to throw the boy too into the river. When a shocked Rani resisted his efforts, Augustine jumped into the river. It was rush hour on a Monday morning. Several people driving past on the bridge pulled up and peeped over the railing, wanting to, as it so often happens in India, “catch the action”. But none came forward to help. It would have been another typical Indian roadside story of apathy in the face of a tragedy, had it not been for Dinesh Babu, a 23-year-old, marketing executive, on the way to work. Unmindful of the depth and treacherous nature of the river, or of his limited knowledge of swimming, Babu jumped into the river and managed to lift Roshni above the water, over his shoulder. Seeing him struggle with the girl, another passer-by, Saravanan, 26, dived into the river. Saravanan knew swimming and he managed to escort both Babu and Roshni to the bank of the river in some time. Augustine however was not found for all of Monday. His body was recovered from the river on Tuesday.

Babu’s braveheart act not only calls for an applause but also begs reflection and introspection by each of us. Ask yourself:    
  •        What would you have done in such a situation?
  •       How can you be more sensitive to the needs of people around you?
  •       Whenever you can’t help personally, do you consider mobilizing help?
Each situation that requires helping someone may not be fraught with as much urgency and risk as in Roshni’s case. But the key point to ponder over is do we even considering helping? Or are we so caught up, indifferent and self-obsessed, with our own lives that we miss even noticing that someone needs our help?

My family and I continue to be blessed by the kindness and compassion of people, often even unknown folks, who have walked into our lives and have helped us – spontaneously, selflessly. I can vouch for how much of a difference it makes when you realize that someone, somewhere cares. So, if it is possible, do pause to look up, and around you, from your busy Life – someone can possibly do with a wee bit of what you have in plenty, if only you care to offer it to them! PS – most often that resource can even be time, and not necessarily money or something in kind!

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