Wednesday, June 15, 2005

There's a girl on the tracks!!!!

It was a moment frozen in time by terror. It was a moment frozen in time in the Readers Digest 50th anniversary edition. I had taken the book with me to spend time during my journey to Mumbai and back. The stories are amazing. You can read them again and again and again and then get inspired all over again. This particular real life story took place in the New York subway. The story is so well written, that after 20-25 minutes of being taken through this moment in time you actually realise that this moment in time was just over a span of 1-2 minutes.

For about 30 seconds everyone on the platform expects someone else to go and help the little girl who missed her step and landed on the tracks, while her mom was screaming for help. Finally they hear the rumble of the train coming in at about 50kph. Two brave people then decide not just to be spectators. One of them nearly looses his legs in his attempt to save the girls life. He runs along the tracks and finally arrives near the girl with the train about 2-3 seconds away from him. He first moves the girl to safety and then tries to save himself. Luckily no one was hurt. I was wondering, if I was put in that situation would I also run to help that little girl. Hmmm I wonder. I mean I can write now that maybe I would. But come to think of it you have to be in that moment when your whole system (mind, body and soul) is put through the test to actually see if you can go through it.

So there I was at the railway station accompanied by my mom to see me off. I had been through some eventful days over the weekend. It was Duncan's wedding. Had been for the bachelor's party, then the wedding. Met a lot of relatives. Genuinly greeted some, smiled at the others. At the bachelor's party I was assigned the task of capturing the joyous and some embarassing moments :-) on tape. When Duncan, the groom, is watching it some eons from now I'm sure it will bring a smile on his face. Anyways it was fun. So as I was saying I was at the railway station waiting for the train. The same platform was used for the local trains which is heavily used by people to commute to work and back. People push to get in and people push to get out as the train stops for just a few seconds. You just have to go with the flow. One such local train had just passed which was not yet filled to capacity. When I say filled to capacity I mean people hanging out of the trains.

Suddenly out of nowhere I see a big black flying object, zoom in, hit a fan and fall to the ground. "There's a crow on the platform"... Wait. Please wait. I can imagine you yawning, wondering, "Its not even on the tracks!!!!". Uhem... for those of you who are still here lets go on. Ok so there's a wounded crow on the platform. People just look from far and decide to go on with their business. A few moments pass. Then we see the crow limping, trying to fly, moving towards the tracks. It can't fly but its still about a few centimeters from the end of the platform. A few more moments pass but no one decides to help. Then one elderly man, on his way to work I presume, picks up the crow and moves it to the side. You could make out that the desire to help that creature came quite naturally. Seeing that another man went and poured some water for the crow. Both of them moved on. The crow drank a little water and tried to fly again. There were a lot of crows flying all around trying to give encouragement to the little chap to fly. However it again went a few centimeters from the end of the platform and turned over.

I thought to myself. Maybe I should go and help it. I looked around to see if anyone wanted to do the honours. No one. Ok I then took out a packet to wrap around my hand. But as I walked closer I wondered if the crows above would come charging down at me. Or what if a local train came into the platform suddenly out of nowhere. What if the crow starts to wiggle and I lose my balance near the edge. Wierd thoughts were running through my head as each step I took seemed to take ages. What if the local train is crowded and someone stamps on the crow. Worse, what if they slip and people get injured too. As I neared the crow covered in its jet black fur, it looked at me and I looked at it. Both of us were quite calm then. I pulled it to the place where there was water for it. This time it somehow knew that we were just trying to help and it remained there.

My train then came into the station. I boarded it on my journey back. Why did it take me so long to go and help it. Maybe cause some of its cousins have dropped some of their belongings on me in the past :-) If it was a different bird would I have gone sooner. But God forbid, what if there was a little girl on the tracks would I do something about it. Would I risk my life for another or in the words of one of the brave men from the story above, "Would I choose to live, knowing that a certain part of me would die". I wonder.

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