The Human in a Man
The bus ride along the country side is always a pleasure. The green pastures, labored urgency of the people and a silence that defies the logic for a city dweller. The beauty of the country side can never be overstated. But I am sure I cannot survive more than a couple of days in these environs. Circumstances forced me to take a non Air Conditioned bus after a long time. It has been nothing but pleasurable. Luckily I got a window seat and I was in no rush to reach my destination. The bus was almost full, but not overcrowded. Sitting next to me was a father and his very young son. They were talking in a cherubic tone about buying something. The light banter was keeping the milieu cheerful.
The railway crossing just closed. This particular one was next to a eucalyptus groove. The aroma was mesmerizing. There was one other truck in front of our bus. It could well be a 10 minute halt as the train was no where in sight. Couple of people used this opportunity to stretch their limbs getting down. Slowly one could see more vehicles piling up on either side of the crossing. I just closed my eyes to enjoy the moment of solitude.
Suddenly there was a commotion which forced me out of my minute long nap with a startle. The entire crowd was shouting pointing at something. I started to hear the sound of the train approaching in the background. For a moment I started to wonder if there was celebrity travelling in the train!
But it was a shout of concern, desperation and horror. As I gazed in that direction I was taken aback. On the railway track, holding her stick with her trembling hand was an old lady walking slowly unaware of the gargantuan train coming behind her. She was happy chewing her beetle leaves with pan and walking slowly. All our shouts had no effect on her. Even I joined the crowd shouting vehemently "Get off the track" many times. For the next 30 seconds we kept on shouting with no success. And the train was fast approaching behind her. Not knowing what to do we all started shouting even more. But even a glaring horn from train did not bother her.
Thankfully a courageous guy went upto the track and pulled her off it just in time. It was a sigh of relief all around. A large group gathered around the lady. For almost a couple of minutes I was not sure what just happened. I was looking around thankfully. I just smiled at the father and son sitting next to me.
"That lady must be easily 80+. Why the hell was she walking in a track unattended!" I told the father.
"Thank god she is fine now."
"Good that someone pulled her off the track"
"There were almost three bus full of people and still no one went to her aid earlier".
The young boy who was listening to all this asked us a question "Appa!! why did you not get down to help the old woman??"
I still don't know the answer to this question.