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I rung the bell!


Things happen and when we change the way they happen, miracles occur.. Everyone can recall an incident where they wished they would have “acted” and not been mere bystanders. We all can think of fights, argument s where we wanted to support some decision or where weu wanted to help a complete stranger. And yet, apathy and complacency took over.

I have reacted impulsively on many situations of injustice and sometimes I have paid a price. I have chosen to take a stand even in situations where my reactions could have made the situation even worse. (I confronted my male senior in engineering college for a harassing comment) My confrontation left a mark. Now, the college has a committee to address sexual harassment cases.

Recently I was attending a training in an organisation working on women empowerment. One day another professional moved into one of the rooms along with her 2 young daughters and a young girl to look after them. On a special request and being an ex-employee of the organisation she was given her own room.

One evening my colleague and I were standing outside her room and could hear loud screams from within. She was yelling at her help for some reason.This kind of raised our brows. But, thinking of it as a harmless scolding, we moved on.

After a few minutes, I crossed her room again and this time the scream had become louder and more abusive. This was more than I could take, but would ringing her door mean intruding in her private life? Will she be offended? Will her help be ill treated further?. All these thoughts were churning in my mind, when something just stuck me and I knocked her door. I had no idea what to say, how to say but I just stood there. She opened the door, her red eyes starring me asking thousand questions without saying a word. I knew I had to say something and it had to be polite, humble and succinct. I said “ I am sorry to disturb but the walls here are kind of thin and whatever you were saying is audible outside.”

She just nodded and locked the door. Her reaction made my imagination run wild. I hoped she would not hit her maid harder. I related this to my colleague who said it was cool and we forgot about it.

After few hours around mid-night she knocked at our door, seeing her at that time I just froze and thought she would now scream at me. I just could not believe what she said. She said “Thank you. You don’t know what you have done. You have stopped me from doing something terrible and you have no idea what I could have done. I came to say thanks, so that my previous reaction doesn’t stop you from doing the same next time you see something like this and please don’t change.” She hugged me and left.

I realized how my simple intervention changed the entire dynamic to what could have been a very ugly episode. I resolved to kill the demons of apathy and always chose to take a stand, take action against crimes and injustice.

This is a true account written by Renuka Saroha. Views expressed here are author’s own.

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