Oblivious or just beyond caring?

After a heady concoction of Public economics and Development Theory lectures I called it a day. However, while going to the metro station something unusual caught my attention. A blind man was standing on the footpath with a tall, completely fit guy who was in a blue Hawaii shirt (FYI, girls notice a guy’s clothes more than his looks). It seemed to me (from the rickshaw I was sitting in) that both of them were together, maybe waiting for a ride. But after getting down I realized that the two people had nothing to do with each other. They were complete strangers. The blind guy was standing at the wrong place waiting for a bus or maybe he wanted to cross the road and the guy in blue was standing right next to him, oblivious to the blind guy.

So I stood in front of the metro station for 10 odd minutes observing both men. The fit guy looked at the blind man several times and every time he looked at him I hoped he’ll offer help. Alas! World is not a wish granting factory. Going by the urgency in his body language, it seemed that he was least interested in helping a guy in rags who apparently couldn’t see. He saw me staring at him and he still chose not to act.

And then he left.  Just like that. Without giving a second glance to the man on the footpath.

This woke up the good Samaritan in me. So, I walked towards the blind guy and asked him where he wanted to go. Magloi Pur I guess and I waited with him for his bus while people came, stared and went. Standing with him I thought: “Am I doing a good thing? Or am I just being selfish because I do need good points in my life’s book to compensate for my daily sins?” I still don’t know the answer 😛

The point of writing all this is that initially I ignored that blind guy’s state thinking someone else would come and help him out. After all, there were several people (and police) who saw him. Why is it my responsibility to help him? And that’s precisely what the guy in blue and all other people who ignored the blind man thought. Why? Because that blind guy isn’t their relative. He’s someone else’s but definitely not theirs.

In my defense, I helped him not because no one else did but because I wanted to. Moreover, I wanted to show an invisible middle finger to the guy in blue and the police waalas.

Now tell me, how many times have you ignored a silent plea? Or should I rather ask: How many times have you not helped people thinking someone else would definitely do it?



4 thoughts on “Oblivious or just beyond caring?

  1. I think I can give a probable reason for the blue-shirt guy’s action. There are many people (including me) don’t help other people unless asked for help.

    I think it’s a psychological condition. A fear of talking to a new person. A fear of starting a small talk with an already known person. I am saying these are possible because …..err….. from experience.

    I am not saying that that was the case here, just saying that this is also a possible explanation. After all, I am not a witness to this incident, and even if I were, we should not judge others by their actions.

    (I read this somewhere – We judge others by their actions, and ourselves by our intentions)

    Also, change the (FYI, girls notice a guy’s clothes more than his looks). You are creating a stereotype by making that statement.

    1. The point of writing this article was to highlight the ‘wont help unless asked for’ perception, which you have rightly pointed out. Psychological condition or not, don’t you think it is the duty of an able person to offer help when someone genuinely needs it? If we all turn a blind eye to differently abled people, do you seriously think humanity can progress?

      I completely agree with you, we should not judge others by their actions. I did not judge the blue shirt guy, who am I to anyway? That guy’s actions were symbolic of our society’s thoughts, in general. That’s all I wanted to say.

      PS- I don’t think I created a stereotype here. We all notice something or the other when we meet new people and in case of a majority of girls, it is the clothes (it is in fact a well known fact).

      1. Okay, I get your point. This article is then from a pov of an optimist. And my view is from the pov of a negative minded person. If I were the blue-shirt guy, many parameters would have run through my mind.

        If I should do what a person should do in an ideal society – help strangers

        What if the stranger rejects my help, being stubborn of the fact that he doesn’t my help, and the incident hurts me in return that he doubts my intentions.

        Maybe I’ll just walk beside him silently observing him and taking care that he doesn’t get into trouble, stumbling over a pebble, or coming in the way of incoming traffic, only then will I intervene. Until then, I’ll just silently walk beside him. And I’m looking at him to satiate my curiosity how a blind person looks like.

        What if he doubts my intentions and takes me for a conman? Why take the chance?

        These are many of the thought process of a probable pessimist and a cynic. (I’m trying to avoid the word realist because everyone thinks their version to be the real version)

      2. You’ve written “girls notice a guy’s clothes more than his looks”. It would be politically correct if you write “most girls notice”. That’s why I’d written you’re stereotyping girls.

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