Monday, July 24, 2006

Prince Rescued

I love 'human interest' stories in the News. The media, who at the best of times are heartless and sarcastic, attempt to delve deep into the dregs of their world-weary lost humanity and remember what it was to actually care about something. The result is usually a piece of over-emotional tripe written by someone who just wants to drive into town, jot down the facts, then head back to an air-conditioned bar and count the dollers the story will bring him.

Today on Google News, the story Army rescues 6-year-old from borewell caught my attention, and call me heartless as well if you like, but the story as printed made me laugh more than cry. Here's is the story, with my wry interjections:

Sunday, July 23, 2006 (Kurukshetra)

A six-year-old boy, trapped for 50 hours in a borewell in Kurukshetra, has been rescued by the Army personnel (it seems the Army often does stuff like this, don't they ever go out and kill people any more?). The boy, Prince (that explains why he hasn't released any albums lately), slipped into the well on Friday while playing near it (his mum was obviously doing a good job of looking after him).

A fire brigade team from Mumbai had also headed to join the rescue effort (not likely the water bore will catch on fire, but you never know...)

Meanwhile, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for Prince (so now Prince and all his friends have learned that if you jump into a borehole, the government will reward you with a small fortune). The Prime Minister has also offered full medical care for the six-year-old (but perhaps he should forget about that and leave it to qualified doctors instead).

The Haryana government has also announced Rs 51,000 for rescue team (thus also teaching the rescuers that if they throw kids into boreholes the government will reward them with lots of money. And of course next time, instead of 100 people crowding around getting in each other's way, there'll be 500 waiting for their cut of the action).

During his two-day ordeal, he was found to be stable on CCTV images (I really think this reality TV business has gone too far - perhaps he's only out of the borehole now because he evicted himself). In the morning, he was given tea and biscuits and oxygen was pumped into the borewell (no wonder they took so long to get him out, he had to set the table and find the tea-cosy first).

"My daughter Payal came to me (I know lots of women in the third-world sell their bodies but calling your daughter... oh, there's a 'P' missing, my mistake). Being a toddler, all she could say was Baba (his name is Prince Baba!? Ali, where are you?) has fallen in the nallah. I rushed to the site after I heard this (in other words, she wasn't only not watching him, she was miles away at home). I checked the nallah but Prince wasn't there," said Prince's mother (yes he was there, you just thought he wasn't, just like you thought he'd be safe playing on the edge of a 50 foot shaft).

"However, the children insisted that he had fallen there. So, I called out for him (she's a genius, this woman, I'd have never thought of calling out to him the moment I arrived, let alone 10 minutes later) and he replied"('Mummy, I have to go pee-pee, do you think everyone in the village that relies on this well for their very life would mind?'). "Now I was convinced he was there (because she heard him reply from down the shaft, she was convinced he was there!? What does this woman use for logic?). I couldn't do anything to rescue him but fellow villagers did try and help," she added (this is in addition to the Army, the Fire Brigade and the Prime Minister, of course). Since 3 pm (IST) Saturday, servicemen from the 66 Engineers regiment of Ambala Cantonment worked tirelessly on the rescue tunnel (the hole was obviously big enough for him to slip down it, why not bring him back up the same one?) Rain hampered work briefly ('Mum, I'm really trying hard to hold it in but its not gonna work if you don't stop that rain from hitting me!'), but rescuers were emotionally involved in the effort (they were emotionally involved with him? No wonder he was trying to hide down a hole!).

Two crane operators had also been working without a break for 15 hours (So that's the army, fire brigade, Prime Minister, doctor, mum, sister, friends, entire village, servicemen from the engineers, two cranes, operators... starting to sound like a once-a-year sale at Macey's).

State Chief Minister (this country has a 'Chief' Minister and a 'Prime' Minister?) Bhupinder Singh Hooda, many villagers and well wishers (are they the ones wishing he was out of this well?) also arrived in Kurukshetra about this time (as well as Moses and the Nation of Israel, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the People of the Native American Nations and the cruise liner QE2).

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also prayed for the speedy rescue and good health of the young boy(but seeing as it took him 10 seconds to fall in and over 2 days to get out, perhaps that prayer wasn't answered).

Residents held a round-the-clock prayer vigil for the safe rescue of Prince. Prayers were also held for Prince in Allahabad at a school for visually impaired students (which, considering they were visually-impaired, probably went along the lines of 'Dear God I hope if I have to go out and get some water from the well I won't step into it, instead of building a grandstand for all these crowds of rescuers maybe we should have built a fence around it, and please God don't let little Prince pee in the well. Amen')

NDTV News Article


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