Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Guilty Bystander

Six weeks have gone since Aila, the killer Cyclone struck parts of West Bengal and Bangladesh. I have been traveling far and wide in the last weeks, discussing and planning, coordinating with persons and corroborating information for the benefit of all. But yesterday was different. I traveled with two young men and Fr. Sarto to some parts of South 24 Parganas district. As we left Kolkata it started raining. As we reached the district, it was pouring cats and dogs. That makes all the difference for people who are already fed up of living in water. Some need the heavens to shut up, while the farmers need it to open up further.

We still saw good many people, still living in some of the huts beside the road, made of black polythene sheets given by the government. The huts were not bigger than the size of my bed - 3 ft x 6.5 ft. I could see children and women inside them, trying to cramble for space. If this is all life is all about, I feel like a guilty bystander. I wish to do more for these people. I wish to show them some ray of hope. I wish to be their friend. In the rain the whole day went without doing anything, but for visiting and meeting some volunteers who were braving the rain to be in touch with people. The volunteers had nothing to give, but to alert the people about drinking water safely, so that cholera or any other endemic disease may not take their lives. Already about 40 persons have died of diarrhea since the Aila.

No more relief materials are in sight. No food. No clothes. No gruel kitchens that were feeding thousands. Suddenly all seem to have come to a halt a month after the Aila is gone. It is time for rehabilitation. But, these people.... they are still in water. It all looks like a sea. By noon, the high tide had hit. Once again you could see the whole area was under water, as if everything was one large sea. If only I had the means....and if I have more hands... Should gods be blamed for this? Or, should we blame ourselves?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you could have added pictures to make the write-up living for all of us - the readers...we also need to feel the way you do, that can make the differnece.