Toastmasters Project ACB: Entertaining Speaker 2 – Angels and others…

As the Mumbai suburban electric train made its 20-second, 6:32pm halt at a station, commuters swarmed out and into its 12 packed coaches. It’s a regular scene in and around India’s most populated metropolis. Having just managed to squeeze herself into a ladies’ compartment, 21-year-old call centre executive Roma Talreja tried to settle into a corner near the door. The train hurtled ahead and Roma, jammed between other women, was trying to find some space to stand safely on when she suddenly got pushed, lost her tenuous foothold and panicked.

Her hands reached for the steel railing above, but finding only air, Roma was thrown out of the coach.

Fellow toastmasters, a very good mTheAccidentorning to you. What would you do in a situation such as this? Would you stop the train and save Roma? Or would you move on in life as if nothing happened?

Standing near the door of another train speeding in the opposite direction, 20-year-old Baleshwar Mishra couldn’t believe what he had just seen—a young woman in a black salwar-kameez lying next to the tracks. Meanwhile, gasps and screams emanated from his compartment. “There’s a girl by the tracks!” the voices cried out.

Impulsively, Baleshwar went and grabbed the train’s red emergency chain and pulled it down frantically. The train screeched, slowing down. He then surveyed the compartment full of wary faces. “Let’s go and help her!” he shouted. But nobody volunteered, afraid of getting involved, of being inconvenienced perhaps.

Baleshwar was so far away from Roma, he couldn’t see her. I hope I’m not too late, he thought, gasping for breath. After running for several minutes, he found her sprawled by the side of the tracks. “Behenji, aap theek hai?” he asked [Sister, are you okay?]. But there was no response, and no help in sight—they were alone somewhere between two stations five kilometres apart in Thane district, which borders Mumbai.

He managed to carry her to the roads, some 50 metres away. He pleaded . “My sister is injured,” he implored motorists who drove by. “Please help me take her to a hospital.” But no one stopped.

The BCom graduate had been working as a call center employee for two years, loving her job talking and connecting to customers, and making new friends there.

Baleshwar Mishra has a very different story. The lanky youngster from Mirzapur, UP, is an unemployed high-school dropout who’d recently come to Mumbai.

None stopped to help him. Just when he had begun to lose hope, a tempo-truck pulled over and its driver, a middle-aged man who spoke Gujarati, stepped out.

They were able to take to a hospital. She received medical care and recovered.  He had one statement to make – People here are afraid. They fear getting trapped in the courts or with the police.

So why did he do it? “She needed help,” Baleshwar puts it simply. “That day it was Roma. Tomorrow it could be you or me by the tracks, bleeding and alone.”

Another such incident moved people. But what could they have done? They just shared their sympathies.


Kanhaiya Lal was also caught on camera crying for help for over 40 minutes along with his four-year-old son after the death of his wife and daughter in a road accident in jaipur, but sadly, no one came forward.

The callous indifference of those  who passed by – reports said that at least 18 cars passed by without stopping – and the insensitive attitude of the policemen who later attended the victim is shocking, appalling and something that has shamed us all.

The sight of a sobbing Raiger begging for help, holding his head and finally giving up, with his face clearly depicting the grief and despair made international headlines and must have moved many when they watched the news telecast but it tragically failed to evoke any emotions in those who were in a position to help.

With the passage of time, we have become so self-centered, so self-obsessed that we care nothing about others. We don’t get affected by the problems and miseries of others. Things only bother us when our near and dear ones are caught in a crisis. We often forget that no one can escape the cruel hands of destiny and anyone can face difficult situations in life just by a stroke of sheer bad luck. It’s interesting to see that animals show a better community behaviour that we humans. All I can wish for… is for people to have in mind, the one quote:

Do to others as you would have them do to you. 

(The main story was taken from Readers Digest India)


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