Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The sobbing girl

She was a brave girl. I wonder what was taxing her. A few days back, while on the Delhi metro, to visit home for the vacation, I saw an attractive girl, holding a bag full of IMS( an MBA coaching institute) reading material, silently sobbing. She tried to fight back tears but they kept flowing like baby rivulets on her cheeks. She made brave efforts to stay calm, to look composed and at times even succeeded to be without any tears. But soon enough the grief again overpowered her. I had an impulse to ask her what was troubling her, to console her, to tell her I was there for her. But something prevented me. Probably I thought I didn’t really had any right to do so as a perfect stranger. Or I may have felt she would not want to be consoled by a stranger, judging by how bravely she was fighting back tears. Once, she took out her cell as if deciding whether to call somebody who would listen, but then she put it back. One reason for my empathy could be a recollection of my own days of depression in the days of MBA preparation when I had carried much the same IMS bag. But primarily, I think it was because she was such an innocent looking girl and was fighting back her tears so bravely. I wish I had mustered enough courage to ask her if I could be of any help. But I thought it might be inappropriate. The thought that I was a psychology student and was supposed to have some idea how to respond in such a situation too kept coming but I had no real idea about what I could have done. The conduct of the other passengers was distressing. They looked at her in an almost angry glare, and then avoided her altogether, only to again give an angry or at least callous glare after every few minutes. It seemed there own lives were so wretched that they were either taking a sadistic pleasure out of it or they couldn’t care less. I hated those mean heartless people just as my heart melted for the sobbing girl. I was almost being led to ask her if I may help her when my station came. I hesitated. I could skip it and try to alleviate her pain. When I got down on the platform, I again felt half an urge to get back on the metro and tell her she didn’t have to face it alone. But I stood there and the train moved on.

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