Call of humanity

A father and his 6-year-old son were walking in front of my house one afternoon and just as I was seeing them pass by my gate, suddenly the father got an attack of epilepsy and fell on the footpath. Bubbles started oozing out of his mouth and his whole body was shaking terribly. The boy sat beside him helplessly, holding on to a bag that his father had dropped. Immediately a few people gathered around them.  One man got off his bike, took out his house key and placed it in the man’s palm. He held the man’s fingers tightly.

As the man was slowly recouping, people spoke to the little boy and found out that the two were from a nearby town. The man opened his eyes and realised where he was. He said that he had come to Bangalore in search of a job. He was a mason. But even after five days, he did not find any job. He was under treatment for epilepsy but could not take the tablet because he could not get food to eat. He had spent all the money that he had come with.  He had brought his son along because his wife had left him a year ago and there was nobody to take care of the little boy back home. Hearing his sad story, the man who first helped him with his key, offered Rs 100 and said, “Go back home. You will get a bus from the nearby bus-stand”. Three students stood by and one of them gave the man another Rs 100. Then a woman passing by stood to find out what had happened. She gave the man Rs 50 and said, “you are safer in your own little town.
Bangalore is too big a city and you will get lost. Go back and take care of your health.”

The man said, “I have been roaming for the last five days and nobody is ready to employ me. When I beg for food, they turn me out saying, ‘you look fit and fine. Why don’t you work and earn a living?’ What should I do?” None of us had any right answer for that question. We could only advise him to go home and live among known devils.

It transpired that the poor man was a Muslim and all those who gathered and helped him were Hindus. So, basically human beings are humane. When do they turn mad and stop seeing a human being as a human being and start seeing things beyond? Who is responsible for all those bloody communal riots? Definitely not you, me or the common citizen!

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