Compassion on the Streets
Being locked up in the house for months after having tasted freedom for so long took a great toll on me. Had to go through a painful heartbreak, academics suffered and I gradually found myself sinking into depression.
Na mom-dad ko bata pata tha apni problems, na doston ko – lest they should scold me, judge me or made fun of me. Seeking therapy was the only option left. Wahan gaya toh I realised the importance of having a stranger to listen to me. Scrolling through my Instagram, I came across a post that said, “Tell your story and I’ll give you one dollar.” An idea was formed and that was the beginning of a new chapter for me. Despite being an introvert, I went ahead; stood 5-6 hours, talking to almost 20-25 people a day and listening to their stories. I was shocked at the number of people who had almost been on the verge of suicide.
One guy even said, “Bhai aaj tujh se baat nahi kiya hota toh na jane kya ho jata.” What surprised me even more was that even middle-aged people came forward to share their stories. I remember a mother-son duo who approached me and when they learnt what I did, the aunty blessed me and hugged me, and I felt as if my mom were here.
Once I met a brilliant guy who had fallen victim to alcoholism – to the point that he had no idea how he ended up in Chennai from Mumbai; he had also lost his father around the same time. But his courage and recovery was so phenomenal that it inspired me. Even though standing for such a long time – from 5 to 11 – can be tedious, but at least I sleep better knowing I had helped someone that day. I continued that routine consistently for 1 ½ months but when college started I was able to do it for only 4 days a week. My parents are super-supportive and they help me fund my cause. Talking to these people has taught me ki chahe life mein kitna bhi busy raho, if you see someone going through depression or acting different, talk to them. Show some compassion. “Spread love”, kyuki, sometimes the strongest of us needs a shoulder to rely on.