They say that the full effect of any event hits you only when the event is personal. Yes, the Mumbai attacks are testimony to the same. Scores of people die each year in separate acts of terror. Yet when Mumbai was hit, that too the affluent, the moneyed, suddenly the country got up and took notice. Heads rolled, people were sacked, new 'leaders' were appointed. People took notice when the premier industrialist of India expressed disappointment over the system. The NIA was commissioned, and a new anti-terror law was tabled and in a rare display of unity it was unanimously passed by the house. It is always personal.
Last weekend there was a first aid course conducted for all of us at work. They taught us basic CPR, how to attend to an accident victim and so on. One comment the doctor made, had a lasting impact on me - 'The aim of first aid knowledge is to show you, how you can help save someone, and if not, at least to show you how you may not cause more harm to someone'. I have learnt about the life of a paraplegic air force captain in one of my class 10 English lessons. I learnt about how he had been in an accident and how he was moved without adequate neck support and how he was rendered paraplegic for the rest of his life. That story made me very sad. When the doctor described rescue efforts, I thought of the many injured who were moved out of these terror attack sites. Rescue operations have a certain mission, and remembering the fine points of safety and 'moving a victim basics' is difficult.
That is where passers by can help. If they only knew first aid. Just a thought - why not make first aid training compulsory in all schools in class 8 and 9? Every school has MCC, scouts, guides and what not. Some schools do include some first aid related inputs as well. But if every educated citizen can help at a time of crisis, imagine how efficient we can be?
And this idea struck me because I recently lost an aunt to a heart attack. She could have been saved, if only someone around knew CPR. It always is.... personal........