“And reporting from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, this is Hermione… no no Ginny Weasley”… oh how she could never make up her mind when it came to these two characters!! Neeta had been a news devouring little angel from the day she knew how to switch on the television. To her dad she was “Little miss Barkha Dutt” in the making, while her mom thought the only experience every journalist went through was to stand at the border lines and face an array of bullets.
The pager beeped at 2.00 in the morning and somehow it was not very unusual for her. She was used to emergency calls since there were times when news coverage had to be done as early as 4 a.m under extreme weather conditions in places which we thought only existed in maps. But she loved the fact that she was the first person to present that news to the whole world… She was still as excited as the five year old Neeta would be when she was going live on television.
She had to make a call. “Rahul, get the equipments ready… earthquake, at Jabalpur… We have to take a flight to Bhopal and catch a connecting flight to Jabalpur which is available only at 5.30 a.m on any given day. It is difficult to reach there via any other means of transport given this situation and time constraints. We have to leave now!”
It took them approximately 5 hours to reach the actual point of damage… Neeta had witnessed her share of mass killing, riots, disasters and even encounters but this by far seemed the worst. The place was in a state of pandemonium… Buildings had shattered, people were homeless, some were plundering money and jewellery from the people who were already dead among the buried mass of bricks, while some were still breathing beneath all the gravel and awaiting help.
“Well atleast we reached here before the rival news network did”, remarked Rahul. She turned around weakly and gave a nod. She was positioning her camera as they had to capture and report the news live with all the extra ounce of packaging material, before the other news network arrived.
And then she saw a small girl covered with multiple bruises crying and looking around helplessly, as if trying to find someone she could recognize among the all the chaos that surrounded her. As Neeta tried to take the child to a safe place and dress those wounds, Rahul cried out “Are you crazy? What are you doing? We are supposed to relay this live, NOW! The other news network is on their way… you are going to get both of us lose our jobs”
“But the child is hurt, she has been badly bruised, she has been searching for her family all through the night, she needs help now. We have got to find someone who can take care of her”, pleaded Neeta.
“Chauffeuring kids is not part of my job description but if it matters to you that much, we can always take care of that girl after we have done the required coverage and relayed this news-clip….” said Rahul in such an indifferent tone that it shocked her. A guy who had been her colleague, her friend, her confidant over the past 5 years and now her fiancé, was talking like this. It felt as if she had never known him before and the thought scared her.
May be it was not just about him, may be that’s what the world has come to…. she was surrounded so completely by misery, plunder and the scene of people chopping off a dead woman’s hand to rob her ornaments that she was disgusted by the utter disregard to a fellow being’s life and the cynical behaviour of human nature…
Is it worth calling oneself “Human” anymore? she pondered…