Saluting an Unknown Soldier!
With a world screaming for attention against the atrocities committed against women every passing day, every gruesome hour, every vulnerable second, it feels good to acknowledge the men who make life humanely livable, likable and lovable for women.
Just as we cannot generalize about the innumerable infamous women who make life naggingly boring and frustrating, in the same manner, we cannot say that all men are villains waiting at the corner of the street, wanting to pounce upon you and devour you. There ARE men who are gallant, caring, loving and humane.
The atmosphere surrounding us has become so badly prejudiced against men and rightly so in some cases that when one ceases doing whatever one is doing and pauses to reflect, it becomes next to impossible to name any one man who made that difference in one’s life. I know that I can mention about my father, my husband who have stood by me in times of turmoil, in grief and sorrow edging me on to live life with courage and confidence. Their presence in my life cannot be summarized in this blog post.
But yes, apart from the men mentioned above there is one man……
It was nearing midnight. A family of four was heading home after dinner at a friend’s place. The food devoured was delicious with Jagjit Singh’s soothing voice on a record player having graced the evening. Just a few minutes and then the family would have reached home and retired for the day. But, as is rightly said, Man proposes, God disposes! Suddenly, there was a big jerk and the maroon coloured Fiat in which the family was travelling turned turtle. Crashes were heard and then, there was complete silence. With no time to decipher what had exactly taken place, a girl of nine peeped out of the window of the overturned car. She crawled out on all fours through the broken door only to see broken glass pieces strewn everywhere and a blood stained road. She dragged her little friend (a neighbour’s son who was very fond of her and had accompanied her for that particular outing) outside only to see a car some distance away with people standing outside (there were women too) and laughing.
Unable to make sense of anything, the little girl began searching for her parents. She found her father stuck beneath the steering wheel and try as she could, she couldn’t get him to respond. When she went searching for her mother, she found her thrown across the road in a pool of blood. What was the girl to do? Here she was caught in an unexpected accident with her parents almost dead and a little boy crying next her, not to leave out that queer crowd of people laughing at her pain and agony.
The girl did what she thought best. She walked to the centre of the road with the palm of her friend clutched tightly and began waving at vehicles passing her by. At that time of the night, not many people were out on the road. Some watched and moved on. Some hesitated but stayed away. Some simply ignored the whole scenario. After all, who wants to get caught in an ugly case of helping an accident victim?
The girl was feeling sleepy. She was tired of waving and shouting for help. She had almost given up when a man appearing to be in his thirties stopped by. He stopped his white Bajaj scooter and asked the girl what happened, where did she want to go. Relieved that somebody had indeed stopped to help, she burst into tears telling him that her father was dead and her mother was badly injured and she wanted to go back to the Uncle’s place from where she had been going home. Wondering how he would find the place, he asked her where the place was and the girl gave him instructions. He then dropped her at the place mentioning about the unexpected accident to the friends.
He must have wondered then, how a little girl could give him the right instructions but she did because somehow she had found her knight in shining armour, someone who had been kind enough to stop and help two little children even when the world was either ignoring them or laughing at their expense. She had found a soldier who had come at the right time to help her out when he too had had a choice to go away like the several others who did not want to get involved.
Because of his benevolent action of helping two children in a traumatic situation, the girl’s parents were quickly admitted for treatment in a hospital. Later it was learnt that the accident was a planned one intended to do away with the life a Colonel travelling in an auto rickshaw. The collision was intentional. Unfortunately, a family happened to pass that way that very instant and was caught in the mess. The Colonel and the auto rickshaw driver were killed on the spot due to the impact. The little girl’s father was admitted into hospital for twelve broken ribs. The mother had badly injured her head and had to be operated too.
Thankfully, due to a brave act of a stranger, who came out of nowhere, the family was saved and was able to live many happy years together. All due to one act of a citizen who merely did what his conscience asked him to do.
How many of us would do that today?
How would I know all this? No, I did not read about it in a newspaper. I WAS the little girl. And, I take this opportunity to thank the soldier who helped me and my family way back. I never heard from him after that. I do not know where he is now. I do not even know whether he is alive. But, this soldier will never die in my memory. He shall live eternally to inspire me.