I have to constantly rush from airport to airport as I travel the world. Even in India, I am hopping from one flight to the other. Most of the time, I am in a hurry to take my bags, see my trolley is in order, check my boarding pass is ready etc. One doesn’t get time to stand still at the airport and just observe the passengers hustling by you.
So here I was at the Pune airport with some time to kill. I wandered around looking for a smoking room and guess what, to my left was Arun Shourie. He was seated on a chair in the waiting lounge. My days turned to him and I couldn’t but stop to observe his plight. I mean, here was the talented hardnosed editor of the Indian Express who had fought Indira Gandhi and Ambani with the power of his pen and his hard hitting no-holds-barred editorials. He looked totally at sea. In front of him was his middle-aged spastic son in a wheelchair crying out for attention. Arun was perched on the floor trying to feed his son as the juice dribbled down his shirt. On the other side of his was his ailing wife who seemed to have Alzheimer’s disease. She was being looked after by the maid. Every time she got up, she fell back on her chair. She looked dishevelled and confused. In the middle of all the confusion was Arun trying to remain calm and coping with it all. My heart sank when I saw the plight of this man. I mean, every budding journalist aspired to be like him and wanted to emulate this man who was the Hercules of journalism. But look at his agony now. I mean, he has to wake up every day to this.
It brought my pains into perspective and I realised many times that we aspire to have a life that our heroes have had but when you delve into their lives, you will realise how fortunate you are to have your own. I looked up and said a prayer for Arun and for me, and thanked God for whatever he had bestowed upon me in life.