During another journey, I met Vasudev, a coast guard officer. I wondered how his job was different from that of a naval officer. “Sailors and navy ships can decide to not sail during storms or rough weather. But we have to be on the sea, especially during bad weather, for our job is to scout for helping others in distress. We also act as an advance party for Indian Navy.”
I asked him what were the challenges in his job and he quickly said, “It’s the rain and storms. The ship shakes vigorously and we puke and fall sick but we have to stay on sea. Even one day is hell sometimes.”
“What motivates you to continue with the job?” I asked. “Is it the money or career prospects or is there more to it?”
He beamed. “Sir, it’s the sense of contribution and worth I feel.”
He excused himself and opened his two decade old diary that had the year 1998 marked on it. He held it close to his chest and proudly declared, “Sir, my father was in the army and my grandfather was in the fire brigade. We always wanted to make a contribution and help people. I am glad I am following their footsteps.”
He opened a few pages and showed me 137 names on his diary. “These are the men I have saved from drowning during thunder storms or when their boats capsized” he said. “Each of them was in agony and fear of his life. I was part of a rescue team and in the last two decades I have earned so many blessings by saving these people. The men would be disoriented or panic but later they’d be immensely grateful to us for saving their lives. I know each of them has a family and at least ten other people love each of them. So I have earned at least a thousand blessings in my career. And that’s not enough. The best part is I am unknown and I have no glamour or fame for this service. I feel a tremendous fulfilment when I see this diary and realize I have helped people in my life.”
I instantly knew that it’s people like Vasudev and Mahindar that keep goodness going on a planet that is increasingly beset with violence and greed.
God bless their souls.