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Nikhil Tripathi



Nikhil Tripathi


Ironman's Fate

Ironman's Fate

5 mins 231 5 mins 231

One month back I woke up to a day which was clouded, rain drizzling, mild wind and a bit cold. I heard the clouds roaring, probably conveying the message that they have got enough stock of water to pour on us. I was about to feel good and nice about everything around me, until the moment I saw Ramji (He ironed clothes in our society for the last 23 years and his set up is just below my apartment in a corner aligned to stairs).

Ramji, a skinny weak guy. He was busy, busy in covering all the ironed clothes, protecting his coal from water and what not to protect his organized set up! With almost no time to embrace the beauty of nature, no time to see up in the sky and give those roaring cloud a brave ignorance.

I was looking at him from my rooftop, getting some natural shower with an empty tea mug in my hand when suddenly I saw his little girl with her younger brother in her lap running towards him. She is 8 years old and seeing her father in the stress of covering the already ironed clothes from dipping water in his little woodshed she looked worried. Ramji looked at his little princess and smiled, almost conveying her not to worry (Fathers' like always, they tell you everything is fine and they will take care of everything around them !)

The girl asked her brother to listen to the roar of clouds, look at the rain and made the 3-year-old kid sit against the wall. She turned herself into a super girl and started helping out her somewhat worried and tired father to the best of her abilities. After the things were sorted, the family gathered distorted clothes and waited for the rain to stop.

I felt numb for a moment and this incident keeps hitting me even today sometimes.

A few days after this incident, Ramji was reported to be suffering from liver cirrhosis and was admitted to a hospital. Almost everyone in our society raised money and contributed towards the treatment of Ramji. But nature had other cruel plans as he couldn’t survive for more than two weeks.

His set up is now managed by his wife and his little angel who manages it along with her school. His wife works in society homes and the angel runs the show on her own while her mother is away and also takes care of her little brother.

A month later, today I received a letter from our RWA citing to remove the IRONMAN’s setup from our society's premises due to objections raised by a certain gentleman who recently moved into a ground floor apartment beside the stair set up. The letter asked for our consent on what to do with the IRONMAN's set up. Ours was a big NO to this step. The gentleman who raised this objection is a retired IAS officer. I felt disgusted after reading the letter and wanted to confront him on the issue but was stopped by my flatmates as it would create a mess. Most probably the set up might be removed as very few people are voting against the step.

Around evening, I went downstairs for a walk where the little girl with her mother was busy arranging clothes and ironing them. Suddenly, the girl saw me and came running with 3 coins in her hand and said: 

“bhaiya ye aapke pichle hafte k paise baaaki reh gaye thhey,mere pas change nahi thaa”.

I was numb again, did not know what to say. I wanted to return the money but thought that might hurt their self-respect and dignity, So I bought some chocolates for the girl and her brother. 

While I was returning back to my room, I was referring the complete context to the 2008 Mumbai Taj attack victims, help done by Ratan Tata ( I am not thinking of being someone who is like Ratan Tata and neither I am advertising my empathy). After helping the victims of the Taj attack, Ratan Tata said: “This is the least we can do“. Now after much thinking, I had several questions in my mind regarding the existence of a family like one of Ramji’s in our space.

Who made them this way? Who is responsible for this situation? What makes us think that we are God! What makes us think that someone is poor because of his or her own fortune, skill or for that matter any characteristic which leads to the creation of wealth! What makes people’s conditions miserable? If we see in totality, we in some or the other way are responsible for poor people’s misery. Had we not been selfish to an extent where we forgot to think that the fabric of society are people and people include rich and poor both. All the moral science lessons that we learn are thrown into the dustbins of the classes the moment we leave the class. Be it an IAS officer, a normal educated person like me or Ramji we all are part of the same fabric called ‘society’ yet some of us choose to identify ourselves in a different way i.e superior, rich, etc.

In this story, on one side there is a retired bureaucrat who is after this family and wants them to be thrown out. He looks at them as if they don’t deserve a place in our space. On the other side, there is this little girl, her mother and her brother probably less aware of the nuances of today’s world, striving hard to meet their ends. They are morally so rich that even three pennies which might be a deficit-reducing asset in their context, hold no value as compared to ethics. They are living in a society which is after them and will make them feel alone every time it gets a chance to do so. I don’t know if education really helps; if it really helps us in becoming a full-fledged human being; if it helps us to be empathetic, moral or ethical; if it really helps us in creating an environment of breathing space for everyone irrespective of his or her background.

Since we are about to remove the set up of IRONMAN on ‘no grounds’ at all, I see the future of evolved educated human beings as bleak. However, I also doubt the tenure of faith that the little angel has on our society and people with her innocence.

God bless IRONMAN’s family.

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