Faces of humanity exposed

By Dr Ksh Imokanta Singh *

Human beings have never stopped surprising me. Some are obsessive with the past to stir the present upside down. Some are insane to 'unravel' the future to fool the present. But everybody is caught in the web of the present. Some capitalise this web as an extension of their prowess and most are tangled in this trap.

Some are spiders and many are 'spidered'. One specialty of these 'spidered' is that they are content to be in the trap and worship the spiders as saviour rather than as predator. For them the spider is very 'humane' or rather should we say 'spidere'. There are some who are oblivious about this game of spider and spidered but still see the true colour of existence, the warmth of co-existence and the ecstasy of humanity.

The stories I am going to tell are about those who fall within the ambit of the last group mentioned and who are not dirtied by the past, future and numerous 'isms' and 'cities', most infamous amongst them, ethnicity. Let me warn you first that I may not be provoked to immerse myself into the so called 'difficult' contours/terrains of concepts of ethnicity, nationalism, sub-nationalism etc for I have tasted them and decided to tell simple stories about the simple faces of humanity.

I would like to assert that the stories I am going to tell are of those with whom I have no previous acquaintances but are the ones I stumbled upon on my daily journeys on the streets and in the buses.

The first story is about an incident occurred in the bus while I was travelling from my village to Imphal (there are other good things about travelling in bus, especially if you are a long distance traveller, like you can take a good nap or enjoy the roadside sceneries or you can read something or you can play games on your mobile since you are not on wheel. But many think that travelling in bus demeans your status in our stingingly status conscious society).

The story : His mother was a little wary, looking for a seat to sit on while she was holding him by her bosom. She was panting a little bit too as she boarded the bus. I did not know the reason why the baby was smiling constantly!

Was it because her mother looked a little worried or was it because he was seeing many strangers in a place like that or was it because he was enjoying his first bus ride! I may not know.

But I wonder, do I need to know the reason or is it necessary to have a reason for every smile? Reason or not, at least the smile created a thousand ripples in my heart.

From their looks the mother-son duo looked chingmee (a politically correct term!). Then so many questions arise. Is it necessary to differentiate the smile of a chingmee baby from a tammee baby?

Am I going to look at the smile of chingmee baby with a prism of hatred, suspicion, ethnicity and frown, and receive the smile of tammee baby with a broader smile?

Am I going to impose the whole stereotypic, myopic and deranged burdens of ethnicity, nationality, race, purity and pollution on the austerely angelic, serene and rosy smile of that baby?

All I need to say is that that smile was the smile of humanity uncolored by the narrow and wicked rust that corrodes the sanity. If I were a god fearing man I would say that that was the smile of god. (Should we say that it was godly human smile!?)

That smile convinced me further of my conviction that there is no exhaustion in swimming the vast ocean of love. Overflowed with love, I wished to embrace the whole of humanity into the small arms of mine. I also wish that everybody braced up the courage for the same.

2nd story : From far it could be assumed that something was wrong as the part of the road was crowded though not blocked. That assumption was proven true when I came nearer riding my scooty. A horrifying scene, spattered with blood greeted me. I could not pass by though I was late for my office.

All the passers-by stopped, though they had the option to stop or not, and lent their helping hands to own the situation as theirs. There he was lying unconscious, his face covered with blood, broken glasses piercing into his face. He looked very well-built and his clothes very fashionable.

On that fateful day, he was on his motor bikeó Pulser-200 with goggles to cool his eyes and a baseball cap to augment his looks. Alas! that very cap turned out to be his Achilles' heels. He was riding in an averagely high speed and was adjusting his cap (I was told by the passers-by who were eye witnesses).

Suddenly the machine went out of his control and rammed into one of the nasik trees guarding the long stretch of road approaching Bishnupur. Within fractions of seconds the agile body turned into a log. The speed he was travelling could be assumed after seeing the mangled frontal portion of the bike.

Somebody was clearing his face off the glass pieces, somebody took out the khudei he was carrying and wrapped the bloodied face, somebody was busy calling the police and somebody offered his car to take him to the nearest hospital. In all the midst of these teeming activities, he was but a spectator without perception.

He had breath to prove that he was still alive and his eyes were fixed as if he was into a deep hollow meditation. He was taken inside the car of that brave Samaritan along with someone who supported him by his side. Though covered with khudei the blood would not stop oozing from his face.

Through the opening of the khudei his eyes stared and my eyes received that look, having eye to eye contact for a second or so. The camera of my mind clicked that look through the lens of my eyes and that still remains long after he was seen and driven away to the hospital and even today that sight would not go away from my mind.

All the strangers gathered there and worked synchronously for a common cause. How beautiful that was! Nobody knew who he was and from where. But everyone was determined to help him regain his consciousness. Nobody seemed to be mindful of his identity when he was there lying and the urgency was to save his precious life. Nevertheless, everybody was little worried as to how to let his relatives know of the accident.

Later, after he had been taken away to the hospital, somebody was heard saying that he looked like a chingmee. Might be just a poser of curiosity or a remark! What if we knew he was a chingmee? Could have we turned away our faces and let him die a silent death, if not a violent death since he was in no way to feel the pain? I earnestly doubt.

The face of that unconscious man was a bundle of serenity, having no amount of mischief, like the one, one can see when somebody is in sleep. That was the real face of innocence and what may be called HUMANITY. Will anybody deny herself/himself not to be lured by that serene face? Without any kind of coaxing everybody showed their humane faces to match the face of that serene face.

They did not need the sermons on humanity from any father, god-man, god-woman, pari, panthou, or any self styled guardians of our society (somebody likes to wear their so called humanity in their sleeves and flaunt it too). Their spontaneous acts, I feel, were the substance of being alive as a human being.

That day made me think repeatedly how easy it is to finish someone's life, especially in this part of the world and how difficult it is to nurture a life and save that life hereafter! If there was no concern for life and if the death of a person did not matter at all why would so many people converge and spend their precious time to save a life?

Yes, there is something commonly latent in everybody, which is benevolent and beautiful. That you call by any name, the substance will remain obstinately in tact. Let it remain like a dormant volcano and erupt when called for.

* Dr Ksh Imokanta Singh ( MFS, Treasury Officer, Bishnupur) contributes regularly to . The writer can be contacted at kimokanta(at)yahoo(dot)com
This article was webcasted on November 29 2010.

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