Having been a media professional for over twenty years now, I’ve seen some serious lows to which people can stoop for a few minutes in the media spotlight. And believe me, I’ve witnessed a good amount of preposterous behaviour… verging from the ridiculous to the insane – I thought I’d seen it all. But when I got to know (and confirmed) about what happened over the past few days at the Parsee General ICU Ward, I was mistaken. Because our obsession with the media spotlight and Social Media self-gratification has degenerated into downright cruelty.
I’m talking about Aspi Sepoy, who is recovering from a mega-surgery at the Parsee General ICU, undergoing his life’s greatest challenge – physically and emotionally. He needs every prayer, every support and every privacy to cope with this massive tragedy. As his wife has passed away and his children are too young and studying at a Boarding School, his full-time caretaker is his brother – a humble, simpleton from Navsari – absolutely naïve to the ways of Bombay, much less its media-sharks or heartless inhabitants who view this very unfortunate tragedy as a photo-opportunity, under the false guise of support.
It was heart-breaking and even harder for me to believe a first-hand account of such atrocity, and I cannot but share it with you. A man of meagre means loses both his legs in an accident, and there are some of us in the media who barge into the ICU for his ‘pic and a quote’ so we can get a pat on our back for our ‘resourcefulness’ of sharing the very personal plight of a man who is down. To hell with his emotional state of mind, his respect or his privacy. But even such media brazenness blushes in the face of what some from our community have resorted to – would you believe that a couple actually bullied their way into the ICU and while the husband posed for a photo opportunity flashing a supposed donation cheque with poor Aspi (who still breathes with assistance), his wife was merrily taking pics – probably to post on social media (or for a greater, deceptive agenda)! And once they were done, they walked away… with the cheque!!! There have been others who have stepped in for such ‘photo opportunities’ too. To hell with the fact that he is very vulnerable to infections. Not surprisingly, visiting Aspi has been disallowed as he now battles Septicemia – a serious, (blood) infection based fever. I know that the words ‘shameless’ and ‘heartless’ are too polite to describe such compassion-challenged behaviour, but I’m sure you share my outrage at this stark lack of sensitivity.
Fortunately, what does offset such thoughtless and self(ie)-obsessed behaviour is the fact that our community has responded with an open heart and has come together in support of Aspi – with prayer and financial support – you will get the details from our front-page story. And we heartily thank two of our foremost and dynamic community leaders, Vada Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor and Mr. Dinshaw Tumboly, for being at the helm and taking charge of this very unfortunate tragedy right from the moment one got to know of it, and will see Aspi through this.
I do hope that better sense prevails over some of us – within the media and within the community – and we understand that the need of the hour is to not invade, but to respect a vulnerable man’s right to his privacy, and his physical and emotional recuperation. Support is meant to be unconditional – be it in the form of financial donations or prayer – it ceases its very essence when we use it to further our ‘likes on Facebook’ or any other self-fulfilling agendas. For the rest of us, do keep your prayers and support going – there is no nobler deed than standing by a fellow Zarthosti in his time of need.
Have a good weekend!