Brave New India
Monday, 18th April 2017. Two days after Teach For India alumni induction. In our minds, we were still trying to answer the questions, “What will brave new India look like?”, “Will I be able to get over my fears and take a step?”
Jhilmil and I were coming back from the park. We were playing “Brave for You” on her phone and wishing for a day our kids will sing it for us. Will they get over their fears and do the things they’re afraid to do? Had we been able to model it out for them?
We were walking back to our house and stopped all of a sudden. There was a piglet lying in the middle of the street – bleeding. Cars and bikes sped by; people looked at her and walked away. She was lying still. Jhilmil looked at me and whispered, “Is she gone?”
I looked harder. I could see her heart beating but she was lying really still. We stood there for a few minutes, not knowing what to do. None of us were comfortable with animals. The bravery in us was pretty low when we thought of picking up an animal. Even if we picked it up, Google map showed the nearest vet was in Kalyani Nagar. Could we save her?
We saw the people walking away, shaking their heads. Would they have done the same had it been a baby? Why couldn’t I be strong enough to pick her up? We looked around helplessly. We were looking for people who could be brave to pick her up, in-spite of the blood and put her near the sidewalk while we tried to find vets. Every moment was precious. Jhilmil was giving up. One of us had to stay strong. I knew Laavanyaa (my school team member) would not have given up. She stood her ground for people and animals alike. How I wished she was here with me.
“And when I’m scared
I imagine you’re there
Telling me to be brave
So I will be brave for you
Stand on a stage for you
Do the things that I’m afraid to do
I know you want me to
I will be brave
I know you’d want me to”
I had to stand up.
I called Raeesa (an amazing volunteer and a 2017 Teach For India Fellow) to ask for help. She is very good with animals. She gave us the number of a vet within 2kms. We called the doctor. She was still there. We still had one problem left.
She was bleeding more now.
A man was passing by. It is very difficult for me to ask for help. I gathered up my courage to ask him for help. He stopped and turned. He was serving Indian Army. Mr.Prem Singh had no double thoughts.
“I have crossed human bodies. I am not scared of injuries.”
He picked her up and agreed to come with us to the doctor. No one came to help him. We arranged for a bag, put her inside and took her to doctor.
When we entered the doctor’s office, she was shocked.
“I have never treated a pig before. I thought it’s a dog”
“Please doctor, I don’t know of any other places.” I pleaded.
She agreed. She did the first aid, gave her injections. Mr. Singh held the piglet strongly during the procedure.
“She is in a state of shock.” Dr.Pooja told us.
Soon, the piglet opened her eyes and tried to twist and turn. We could not check for internal damage. She was still bleeding, but lesser than before. We asked her for her fees. She smiled and refused.
“She is not your pet. I understand your intentions.”
The doctor had to travel 12kms and it was already 9PM. She had stayed only for us. We let the piglet rest for some time and then took her back to her family. She was moving her body and legs now. I thanked Mr .Singh profusely. What he said made me see a lot of things.
“I was going to a temple, since it is a Tuesday. Injuries don’t bother me, but helping someone takes a lot of efforts. Then I saw you two, trying to help and I stopped. What we ended up doing was so much more than the temple. I am glad I stopped.”
We could not have done it without him. I turned to Jhilmil. Her heart was beating fast. She was in a state of shock. She had been waiting outside the doctor’s chamber. But she stayed. She had taken a step forward, just like she does with her kids. In her, I saw a brave new India.
We all are scared inside. It is easy to help in our comfort zone, but to step out is what will make us brave. We need hope strength and role models, who walk the walk, not talk the talk. Hopefully next time I will be able to pick up an injured animal and help her/him. I will be able to love a child and animal alike. Now I can talk about breaking barriers. We can make a brave new India.