Youth Voices

Social Responsibility

‘So, if he can’t afford it, can’t we do it for him?’ I asked timidly.
‘Why would you want to do it? Let things be the way they are’ was the reply.
Let things be the way they are, seriously? What about all those teachings of being different, and unique, and setting up your own mark against the world. What about all those childhood stories and morals of helping people in distress, with everything you have, in spite of whatever people may say? What about all those late-night lectures, whilst watching TV, about how these people need us more than anything? They were your opinions, your teachings. Back in those days, you imposed them on me. I did not choose to feel for them, you made me. You made me realize that I was the vice-gerent of God on Earth, and that I was supposed to care for those who had nothing.
And today, when the opportunity was facing me, you are asking me to keep silent? You are requesting me to let that man die because you don’t have enough time to go and see him, to help him, and assure him his survival? Let me tell you one thing, God does not need me, or you, or anyone else to take care of him. He can do that Himself. He just presents offers to those who demand for it, so they may as well earn their bonus points. People like me think of these bonus points as self-satiating possibilities, and are grateful for it. I do not arbitrate that your heart does not throb for him –I just announce that feeling someone’s pain is worthless unless you could do something. Completely pointless, like watching someone die, and lie beside, tongue-tied, weeping softly. Isn’t this what is consuming our society outrageously?
And then, I hear you ramble about how other things should mean more to me. My studies, my career, and my life, and you try to lure me into the glorious possibilities and peace they will bring to my wretched heart. You’ve got it all wrong though. The reason I am frustrated is because I could not break the stereotype. Why I am restless is because I could not step out of my house, go over to the ‘uncivilized paan-wala’ across the street and fetch the address of the poor man who’s dying of jaundice, and does not have money to pay for his treatment. He is the frail, feeble individual who is useless to the society since he used to trade dry fruits on the streets in winter, and nothing else. Had he been related to a political mob, or some influential people, or had earned enough to drag him to another hospital, rather than visiting the Civil Clinics as a rag-doll and paying for those colorful pain-relief medicines, he would have been important. But no, his life does not matter, because it does not affect us -None of us. It was he who operated his stall then, and now it will be his son. His son, with a murky future, pulled out of school, with just one inflexible motive in life –to shore up his family to death.
All the same, I wonder how long that man will survive. Two years of severe jaundice would have already weakened his immunity; he may as well die sooner than expected. Who would feed his family, and care for his kids? With a society like ours, where the bourgeois still rule the proletariat, and the male-dominance stays established, will a household with a single mother survive? What if they turn to illegal means for earning? Will I not be the culprit?
I wonder why God locates people such as him in distress. Doing so, He plays with a whole family at the same time. Each is faced with their own challenges, with nothing to gain, but everything to lose. It is a win-win situation for nature, and people eventually renounce up life, because they see no point to live on.
And when I don’t pay attention to what you’re saying, you use your ultimate tool. You try to make it dawn on me how this is not what God wants me to do. He wants me to care for my family, my parents and my siblings. The ones suffering in society are not my responsibility, but of the wealthier ones. Wait –that triggers something. What if I really am not the one to care for him? After all, I was to him, nobody. He didn’t know me, I didn’t know him either, and we were connected by the mutual concept of belonging to the same species in the Kingdom eukaryote. These days might not be the right time to help that person, but then again, I may not be the right person to do that. Although I may have the urge and capabilities to do so, I am not the chosen one.
I think then that sometimes, it is worth not doing things yourself. You just have to wait; wait for the right person to do the right things and only that will be right. You do things yourself, you mess them up. So I might as well wait. Wait for the precise person to come. It maybe ages before the chosen one comes along, just as it had already been two years for the helpless man. He could have passed away in a few months, but no, he was still alive. Perhaps, it was all a kismet to keep the options cradling, just to make sure that when the right person comes along, it would be the right time to heal him, to help him, to pull him out of the abyss.
‘Forget it, okay. I shouldn’t have told you anyway’ she threw me a frustrated look.
‘Too late –The damage has been done’ I thought, and started weaving a blueprint on seeking the man out who was mine to deal with. Not any doctor, Not any welfare society –Since today, he was my social responsibility. The wait to stop procrastinating, and start acting, was now officially over. Yes, I will volunteer. I will help him breathe till the last moment until the correct piece comes over to fit the jigsaw. Who knows, it might as well have been me after all, all along.