Saturday, August 05, 2006

I Shouldn't Be Alive: Chris Moon [Discovery Channel]

Today, I was watching a program on Discovery called “I shouldn’t be alive”. This is actually a series.. every week they show a different story. The one I saw today has kind of impressed me deeply.

Today’s episode was about a guy named Chris Moon. Since I dint watch the programme from start, I don’t even know Chris’s nationality. Nor do I know the year when these events occurred. Regardless, I felt extremely humbled. Read on to know more…

Apparently, Chris was in Cambodia for some reason. He was leading a couple of mini-trucks through the remote roads when he was captured by soldiers of the Khmer Rouge. For those who don’t know, Khmer Rouge is “credited” with the second-highest mass-murder in human history, second only to Hitler. Their practice of taking innocent farmers out of their huts and into the fields and executing them in hundreds, is said to be the origin of the phrase “killing fields”.

So Chris was with a couple of native Cambodians, among them Mr. Houn. They were all kidnapped by the Khmer Rouge and taken deep into the jungle. The program goes on to show how they survived 3 days and 3 nights of ordeal in captivity, before their patience and calmness prevailed and they survived. First of all, Chris never lost hope. Secondly, he showed extra ordinary presence of mind. He reasoned with his captors, even tried tactics such as praising them and saying he’l spread the word about their “goodness” blah blah. I don’t want to get into all these details.

Point is, on the third night, they walked from 7 pm to 5 am and crossed rivers and land-mine ridden jungles in the darkness to exit the Khmer-Rouge territory and reach the safety of the Government-controlled territory. This itself is mighty impressive.

But there’s more to it. 2 years after his brush with death in Cambodia, Chris was in Mozambique, working for the UN (I think). His work was to detect land mines and remove them safely. Years of civil war in Mozambique have resulted in the entire country being severely riddled with land mines. I remember watching a program which shows that a large percentage of Mozambique’s population is adversely affected by these landmines – directly or indirectly. For instance a double-digit percentage of them are handicapped or maimed for life because of accidentally stepping on one.

That’s exactly what happened to Chris too. He accidentally stepped on a landmine and was badly injured. He had to be airlifted, but that dint do him much good. Chris said in an interview that "There are times when the pain is so intense that at that point in time, dying seems a better option". One of his legs was blown off below the knee and one of his hands had to be amputated too. Now comes the real motivating part. In spite of all the physical and emotional dents, Chris recovered and a couple of years later, participated in a Heptathlon somewhere in the deserts of Africa. He completed the event with only 2 natural limbs – the other 2 were artificial! Hows that for “Never-Say-Die” spirit??

But this keep-going attitude is not the only lesson I learned from Chris. He was working selflessly deep in Cambodian jungles and mine-infested areas of Mozambique. That’s what caught my attention. There are thousands of volunteers from organizations like International Red Cross Society and the United Nations Organization; who have given up comfortable lifestyles and are working for the betterment of the poorer sections of society.

It is this display of selfless genuine, International Humanity that makes me feel insignificant. For, here I am sitting at home or in my A/C office and commenting on lots of issues. But will I ever actually leave my comfort zone and venture out to help where it matters? I do hope so.

I conclude this post by bowing in salute to all those countless unsung heroes who are doing what matters to bring the standard of living of our fellow human beings to humane levels.

Rang De Basanti!

I had written this article as a comment on my friend's blog Rahul Prasad's World. I think it still holds today. So am posting it here.

Hi guyz,

Let me start off by saying that the reason i'm posting the comments on this group is because i want to make sure other ppl who commented on the blog read it.. (there's a chance they may not follow up on Rahuls blog :-)

ok... now where do i start?? oh yes.. now we have ppl who see RDB and come out of the theatre saying that the message of the movie is "Go out and kill every minister who's taking a morning walk"!!!.. So let me now make a list of what messages these same ppl wud have taken from some other movies:-

  • BLACK:- "Kiss every handicapped disciple"
  • Mohabbatein:- "Please do not do anything in college except falling in love..and then break every rule of ur institution for ur love to succeed"
  • Swades:-Take every KaveriAmma from India to US... or some bull-shit llike that

COME ON GUYZ, WAKE UP!!! The essence of RDB is not to take up violence... the movie just took an example of those5-6 friends and their story... .. Of course it has never happened to me.. i mean if i had a frnd who died because of some asshole's corruption AND if the same asshole was hell bent upon tainting my frnd's name post-humously (just to save his big fat rear-end), then i dont know wt i wudv done.. but since such a grave incident has never happened to me, i hv no business criticising the violent means adopted to seek justice..

The message of RDB is that it is everybody's responsibility to change the "system".. u must agree with me that v have all tlked about this way too often.. whatever happens, just criticize the "system" and thats it.. RDB urges the youth of India to take responsibility.. because we are the future of this country.. and i think thats the message we shd take from the movie instead of debating over meaningless issues..

And i'm really shocked that ppl comment on minor irrevelant issues like screenplay and all.. Yes i agree that all these go a long way into making a complete package, but in the context of movies like RDB, there are more serious issues to discuss.. for example i agree that there is a slim chance of police lathi-charging the frail old mother of a ..well.. of someone who's no less than a hero..but thats hardly a topic for debating..the point here is.. RDB aims to move evry1.. it aims to motivate the youth to participate in the country's affairs because every right is accompanied by a duty too.. if u hv the right to live peacefully its ur duty to keep peace too..

As far as i'm concerned there has never been a movie more motivating than this in terms of patriotism (with the exception of Swades maybe).. there have been many "good patriotic movies" before..i cite the example of Sarfarosh and Lakshya.. but these have all blamed Pakistam rather than facing our own shortcomings.. RDB stands out in this regard..

And regarding comments of patriotism breeding violence, well,... that comment make absolutely no sense whatsoever as far as RDB is concerned. .mayb it does in case of Sarfarosh, Lakshya, Border, Zameer, Deewar and a host of other such movies, but not in case of RDB. I absolutely agree that international humanity is the need of the day, but first we need to get things in order within our own country.

In a nutshell RDB tells u that its possible for the masses to come together to change the so-called "pathetic state of affairs", that instead of blaming the system, we shd realize that v r as much part of the system as the police, Govt, army, blah blah... And one such dhamaka is necessary to wake up the masses.. u need not go and kill a corrupt minister..just act within ur own capacity.. whatever u do, just dont shy away from ur responsibilty by taking the cover of "i'm an non-violent person"...