DR. SHALONI PATNAYAK
In continuation of witnessing various memorable yet indelible instances during this lockdown, Some incidents compel me to think “Is this duty or just another form of inhumanity?” Few weeks back, the lockdown regulations were at its peak. I was sitting on my balcony and enjoying the first taste of rains and drizzles with a tint of cold breeze. Some street vendors were selling some or the other stuff for their livelihood and striving hard for the wellbeing of their families. But the situation used to worsen when the lockdown restrictions did not allow the poor vendors to do so anymore.
Everyday the constables used to have a check on the movement of the residents in the locality for the sake of our safety and as a part of their duty.
One day a poor old man was selling some bananas, piled up on his back and walking down on the streets taking smaller steps with his swollen feets.
My eyes were consistently gazing at him wondering “What must be the actual
condition of him and his family, that has compelled him to take so much pain even on these days?”. Soon... I heard a grumpy voice from the other side of the road
“Hey you, stay there!”
He was a constable on duty.
The old man got thrilled and stopped there, “Yes, Sir”
“Don't you know? The lockdown is going on!” The constable asked.
He took a pause and said “Sir, it is an emergency! My grandson is not well and my daughter-in-law is all alone in the house, taking care of him.”
“So what ?” The constable asked. The old man was already shivering… and answered “Sir, my son is in a different state and could not come to us because of this lockdown and not even send money. We have to give my grandson medications, as he is in pain” The constable was not in a mood of understanding the man or even his situation. He asked the old man to give him all the bananas orelse he have to pay him the fine of Rs.1000/-. He started weeping and requested the constable to spare him this time, but his petition was not heard and he had to give all the stuff to the Constable. He sat there and cried for hours but nothing could stop him. I narrated the whole story to my mom and decided to help him in our way. We ran downstairs and went to the Old man offering him some money. But he denied taking the money and asked us to leave. But then,after insisting on him... He asked us to have a look at the prescription and requested us to arrange the medicines for his grandson. Surprisingly we had the medicines in our house, I immediately grabbed the medicines from the shelf and gave it to the Old Man. He was so happy and relieved. Just a few days back, he visited us with our grandson and had bought us some bananas. The child gave me a letter saying “We are thankful to you”.
Sometimes I feel, “What should be done when your duty is over powering the nature of humanity infused in your soul?” The constable was just doing his duty but what about the needy one who are the most vulnerable ones!!!