You hear the voices and you move towards them. Panic rises in waves as you push your way towards the core of the fight. You see the blood and it makes you queasy. There is a brief moment of sheer blankness followed by righteousness as you move to stop the violence. Your instincts take over as you grab one of them by the arms and jerk him away. You scream at them to stop and time stands still as everyone faces you. Face flushed and arms trembling at your sides you repeat your plea with less certainty.

Incredulous stares, muttered words and the same response caged with different words, “It’s none of your business.”

You view the victim with disbelieving eyes and observe no demand for help. The outright hostility in the air prompts you to retreat a step and an irrational desire to apologize stirs within you. The proceedings continue with renewed vigor, no regard paid to your existence as you stand on the edges with your mouth agape and limbs turned to lead with shock.

A steady stream of all you’ve ever been taught plays in your head as you walk towards home. The times when your mother would beat you for your dishonesty and the praise you would receive by your teachers for resolving matters, slowly ebb into nothingness.

One of the subtle side effects of living in an age of violence and distrust is the deprivation of the right that we have on each other as human beings. In a world in which it is forbidden for a child to listen to a stranger much less heed his advice it is no surprise that mutual respect for one another is slowly deteriorating. It is unimaginable to go back to the kind of life our ancestors had in terms of values - A life in which we could help others without fear of getting hurt in the process, in which we put a stop to our lives when someone else was in pain - A life in which we had the courage to stop a wrong rather than be a means of promoting it through our silence and blind obedience.

Today’s world is a world in which we must bear the label of being related by blood or relation when it comes to alleviating sorrow. Whether the matter be as simple as stopping a fist fight in a high school’s playground or openly speaking against a wrong, a transgressors intervention is not turned down but also opposed.

It is true that as people of different histories it is taxing to heed a passerby’s words of wisdom and tolerate judgement from someone who is oblivious of the entire picture but it is inapt to claim ignorance to problems when we are the ones depriving ourselves from warnings by sheltering ourselves from external influences.