Humanity is alive and kicking
Around six years back when my husband was in the terminal stage of lung cancer and undergoing treatment at the Tata Memorial Hospital I was returning by the suburban harbourline one night after spending the whole day at the hospital with him. The train was not very crowded at that hour and I was sitting near a window seat alone. I used to deliberately avoid mixing with strangers then, and that habit has continued since, for the simple reason that personal questions arise soon and bring the sadness back. So I was sitting alone, but indeed the thought of what future held for me and my school going children brought tears in my eyes and to my surprise I did nothing to hold them back, perhaps because I was already tired of holding them back and putting a brave front in front of my husband.
Suddenly I felt a small group of women had gathered around me. It was quite a representation of humanity and various sections of the society. While the two negresses present offered me grapes and promised to reach me home from the station once I explained to them in English the jist of what the other women had understood in Hindi, some women offered their knowledge of herbal medicines and a vendor woman gave me the most striking of all advices as she said, "You`re crying because your husband is dying...look at me...my husband has left me for another woman. I care not only for my children but I also look after the invalid sister of my unfaithful husband. I`m not even educated, but life has to be faced boldly!" Indeed as I got down from the train that night I was relieved to note that humanity was not dead and people cared for fellow human beings.
Zohra Javed, Allahabad
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