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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Being Responsible ~ Is it that difficult ?

I still remember 11th April 1990, when mummy took her last breath at 10.30pm. She was struggling with cancer since 1987. It was night so we had to wait till next day for the cremation ceremony and other rituals. My final exams of 8th class were due just after one week and we were instructed not to take any leave from school before that. It was a tough time though we already knew that Mummy din't have more days left with her. None of us could sleep that night. In the morning first thing I did was, wrote a leave application to the Principal of my school explaining that I won't be able to attend school for a week because of sudden demise of my mother.

There is a reason sharing the above incident as recently I have lost communication with 3 good friends of mine just because I expected them to take responsibility of their words & actions. We all have emergency situations where often we are not able to mean our words and actions but in today's technical world of smart phones, we all have various options to inform just by pressing few buttons or just by a click, isn't it?

Among all the three good friends of mine, one's action has left an irreversible feeling of guilt within me for rest of my life. It was November 2012. Nineteen year old Firoz was struggling with cancer and was admitted in AIIMS, Delhi for the surgery. Somehow Firoz and me used to share a special bonding & connectivity. It was he who was struggling with life and death but as a daily routine he used to call me just to check my well being. Even though I was on break from work for few months because of my ill health, I always used to help him through my friends living in Delhi, least I could do living so many kilometer away from him. His surgery was due in the last week of November. It was the same time when I got a call from Ajmer to conduct a training programme on Human Rights Education for government teachers of Rajasthan.

I reached Ajmer on 18th November and just after reaching got a call from Firoz. He wanted to meet me, may be there was something he was not able to communicate on phone. I was worried but helpless for I was committed to conduct the training programme that was starting from 19th November 2012. I called one of my very good friends in Delhi who had a sensitivity for cancer patients and often used to help them in whatever capacity he could. He agreed to meet Firoz on 19th evening and I got relaxed as I was almost sure that he would be able to substitute my presence and would look after Firoz in my absence.

After that I got busy with my Human Right training programme. I neither got any call from Firoz nor from that friend of mine till 23rd of November and I assumed everything is all right. On 23rd November Night I called my friend just to confirm if he met Firoz and if everything is all right there, His answer was " Oh Archana I couldn't meet him, because I got stuck with some work and there is some marriage in my family, lots of stuff....etc."  I said, "At least you should have informed." His reply was "I don't have only this work to do in life." I was speechless in shock as I never forced him to help my cancer patients, it was he who approached me to be associated with the cause out of his own choice and concern.

I got angry not because He din't meet Firoz but because he din't inform me that he won't be able to meet Firoz. I have so many other friends in Delhi who could have met Firoz if that friend was busy. I asked him to meet on 18th and it was 23rd night I got to know that he din't meet Firoz , almost 6 days. Its a big duration for a struggling cancer patient who was not able to communicate what he wants on phone to me.

I called Firoz and it was his sister who picked up the phone. She told Firoz's condition is serious and he is not able to communicate anything now. Within 5 days he got worst, On 25th I reached my home from Ajmer. On 26th morning I was getting ready to reach Delhi to meet Firoz and suddenly got a call from her father that Firoz was no more.

I was stunned and chocked with teary eyes. It was 6 hours run to Delhi from my place and they were taking Firoz to his village in Bihar for last rites. I was left with double guilt within me for not able to meet Firoz and not able to find out what he exactly wanted from me before leaving the world. Firoz was very much reserved with his family but was open to me and few friends of mine, the friend who promised to meet him was one of them. If he would have informed me timely that he din't meet Firoz as he promised, I would have asked another friend to meet Firoz but I couldn't make it as was in the impression that he had already met Firoz. It was just a matter of a pressing few buttons to text me taking few seconds out of his busy schedule but he didn't find it important.

The other two friends did something like that but repercussion was not that intense. Death is inevitable but the only thing that haunts me often is, that if I would have been timely informed, I would have known what exactly Firoz wanted to tell his Archana Didi. Now I am left with a guilt I can't explain, I can't bear and I can't ignore.

Heart aches when your so called very good friends who claim to be by your side forever, behave in such an irresponsible manner and show egoistic attitude just because you expected to be timely informed of their inability to perform the promised task.

I strongly feel in the hustle-bustle of living a fake life we are becoming an irresponsible machine who often ignore the importance of spoken words and commitments. I wonder why we say things when we don't mean them. We ask to call in 5 minutes/tomorrow/sunday but that 5 minute/tomorrow/sunday never comes. We insist to meet someone, take time, change plan in last minute but never bother to inform. What exactly is the reason for such an unorganized and irresponsible thought process?

When a small girl studying in 8th class can be responsible enough to write an application to the principal of her school about her mother's sudden demise sitting besides her dead existence, why can't grown up adults take the responsibility to mean their words and to inform if not able to.

Is it that difficult ?