About couple of weeks back I posted a blog post about how the new regulations would affect us. Few days back a friend of mine sent me this YouTube link . Please see this video while I share a small anecdote with you about 20-25 years back.
During that time, I was a college student from a middle-class family. My college was half an hour walk from my home and I use to walk up and down to the college daily. I used to take various routes to reach the college as you become bored with one route daily. One of those routes used to pass through marriage halls. As a First year college student, I didn’t need money much so used to carry around Rs. 10/20 – for having chai and some street food for friends. That amount used to go quite some distance in those days. Me and My friends saw many a movie @ Rs. 10/- Saturday morning movies by bunking college and we used to enjoy that like anything.
One day, I *think* it was a holiday and I was supposed to meet a friend who was living in college hostel or around that, while going, I took the route which went nearby the marriage halls. I should state that time I wasn’t fat as I am today but was around 50-55 kg. as I used to walk quite a bit and used to be with friends so energy was dissipated all the time, the relevance of this statement will be known as I unravel the true story as it happened. While I was walking, I saw a young girl (maybe 3-4 years old) bawling her heart out. She looked from a well-to-do home from her clothes. I asked in my broken Marathi what happened and she said she lost her parents. I used the top of my lungs and asked if her parents are around. I asked her name and shouted 2-3 times using her name but of no avail. Then I asked as to where she lived. She said, just round the corner. So I gave her my pinky finger and went to the lane. The road on which these marriage halls are, there are many lanes which are in Z shape with most of them ending in a dead-end. So I took her and when we reached the dead-end she stopped and said this isn’t it. I naively thought it might be one of the other lanes and one-by-one I went through all the lanes which had a dead-end. I had explicitly asked her and she said that the lane ended at her house. After just couple of lanes, she was tired and I had to offer to carry her. Somehow I carried her for couple of hours and when all the dead-end lanes were done, I realized that the girl was truly lost. A part of me wanted to leave her but I couldn’t leave her like that. Using 90 percent of the money I had on me, we had a cold-drink each at one of the shops as she was thirsty as was I. I asked people around me that such a situation has arisen and what should I do ? I was told that my best bet would be to call the police station. I called up 100 number and probably the exchange transferred me to the nearest Police Station. I told the cop the situation and told them where I am. The cop answered, bring the girl and yourself to the Police Station and we will sort it out. I couldn’t understand why the cop could not come and pick us up when I’m giving the address of the place. I had no idea of prank calls as well as the plight of the cops themselves as shared much later in Satyamev Jayate. It took me couple of hours as I had to constantly shift her, take breaks in-between and then start again. Finally after reaching the Station, they took my statement. Shortly afterwards the child’s family also came. They were asked if they wanted to file any sort of criminal charges against me (which was a shock to me), as they didn’t know me they let me go.
Now apart from my naive behavior, if the police had location-aware technology they would have known where I am speaking from (it was a land-line as cellular phones were unheard of that point in time.) From what little I have observed, the private and community maps (where there is a true community around mapping) are far-far better than the maps than the Government does. While we really should have and ask a 911 kinda service which connects to all sorts of law and order issues (domestic abuse, violence, bullying etc.) medical emergencies (heart attack or any life-threatening issues), Disaster relief (Floods,landslides etc.) . Such services can only rely when you have both public, community and private initiatives work together.
If mapping would only be something that only the Government and big moneyed people can do, it will lead to laziness, as sooner or later there would be monopolies or at the most duopoly in many of the places in India which would be bad for us.
Look forward to our countrymen to advise the country to give community mapping also some breathing space in whatever new regulation comes without resorting to heavy-handedness of licensing.