Tuesday, July 21, 2009

To help or not to

One of my friends recently narrated this incident that happened in the bus and how bad he felt for not being able to help a woman who fell down flat on her face when the bus braked suddenly. She was standing next to him. He could have prevented her fall if at all he had held her while she was falling. I asked him why he hadn't. He said he was afraid to be mistaken. Now, is a fall embarrassing or a man holding you ( which means physical contact)to prevent the fall.

I was at the chennai station a little too early for my train and was waiting at the platform. A man not the conventional " decent looking" type came to me with his luggage- few blankets, a big shopper and another bag and asked me if I could watch it for him when he went out to do/get something. When I hesitated he said " just five mins". I accepted. And then all the worrying started. I looked at the bags and was wondering what was inside them. I tried finding reasons to justify my decision which only made it worse. He was actually seated earlier next to a North Indian family and it would have been easier for him to have asked them. Why me? Every minute seemed like hours and he hadnt turned up even after ten mins. I forgot the bags ( including mine) and started gazing around and far to get signs of him coming and/op look for some help. I realised that many of them had worn similar color combination dress like him. I started wondering if I need to tell someone about this and saw a cop. Thankfully before I I went to him this man came back. He showed me his ticket and said he was not able to make the coach number because of the poor print. It looked anything similar to S5 S3 S8 and S9. He had gone searching the charts for his name. I tried to look at other numbers printed, matched it and told him it would probably be 8 or 9. How nice it would have been if he had told this to me earlier.

Few months back, a lady came to my house for a survey. She informed me that she is doing a survey on consumer behavior patterns on behalf of AC Neilson. Having worked for Call centers and in outbound calling for more than two years, I usually try to be nice to these people. I felt a fully filled survey form is definitely going to fetch her some money. Why shouldn't I help her. I started answering the questions and it took more than half hour. I brought her inside the house as it started raining mid way.

After she left I went over the questions she asked. There were some very suspicious ones

1. Who are all the earning members in the family
2. What time does your brother come in and go out( She said as per her sampling , she was supposed to question the third member ( as per age) in the family and that will help her more
3. What brand TV, Fridge, Washing machine, computer, phone do you have
4. What brand shoes do you buy
5. How often do you watch movies and where you go and when you go
6. What time does everyone watch tv at home

She asked a lot many questions and I had also refused to give her some.,.ex, salary range, phone numbers however I had given her enough info to find out when there will be people in my house and what items we have, their value. Next few days I wasnt able to sleep peacefully and would wake up at the slightest sound.I still dont know if what I had done was right or not.

Similar confusions happen when I pay beggars( especially after watching Naan Kadavul). There are many who ridicule/scold me for paying them. " Kai kaal iruku la..ozhachu sambathikalam thaanay". This statement fills me with rage. Why the hell would someone resort to begging if they had other options to live. If its about being lazy, is begging as easy? Would you resort to begging at any point to save physical or mental strain?. But then, you never know. I finally decided that anyways I would pay them. Firstly, I try to buy them food if hunger is the problem else pay. Where it goes and how its used is not my problem. Even if I paid hundred of them and 99 cheated, its worth " being fooled" for the sake of one.

Many of us might have reasons ( genuine enough at times) for not being able to help. However at most times, we just look for excuses. Other than the fact that I am an AR fan, I love this song "Pray for me brother" for this one single line coined. - ARE YOU SEARCHING.. FOR A REASON.. TO BE KIND..


Deepak said...

When it rains it pours?

Anyway, a good set of questions where there is a true dilemma. My big one is when people ask for money on the road. Few days back, there was a woman with *five children*. Five! Same case, that movie really screwed up my thinking. It is a lose-lose model. (There is one very painful scene in that movie. The man only utters one word in Malayalam, but the implications were staggering. He checks a disabled girls leg and just says "We can make her pregnant" - it's the worst sort of crime you can perform on humanity. No answers!)

Personally, for the middle two questions, I think you worried a bit too much :)

Alvy said...

Ha ha.. yeah.. out of a mental block probably..

And yes.. am the worrying type and highly influenced by views of people around. I got earful from my Parents and a friend for taking that survey.

About the station incident, you might have probably related to it better if you had been in Cbe during the blasts..

KPR said...

From my perspective, it is the sense of FEAR that stops us, its the FEAR of getting cheated, its the FEAR of being taken for a ride, FEAR of being branded as 'Victim'