By Arré Bench Aug. 14, 2021
Narrated by Rajkummar Rao, Spotify’s collection of stories #RukJaanaNahi mines hope and healing from dread and despair of the pandemic through radical acts of kindness and empathy.
It’s possible, and perhaps even understandable that in the face of widespread human tragedy, one can lose touch, not just with reality, but with millions of other living beings that make it what it is. Narrated by ace actor Rajkummar Rao, Spotify’s #RukJaanaNahi helps record acts of empathy and courage that, quite literally, went beyond human comforts.
Each week, Rao shares #Storiesofhope, tales of people who stepped up to perform superhuman acts of kindness, when it was difficult to maybe even act human. In one of the heartwarming episode titled ‘Leaving no one behind’, for example, the actor talks to Archie Sen, Swati Bheemgaz, and Dr. Ashma Begum, who ensured hundreds of animals who live among us are not forgotten or abandoned to die during the months of near universal chaos.
The Spotify podcast is also introduced by a moving poem written by Swandand Kirkire. Narrated with exceptional depth of voice and grace, the poem talks about the courage of those who have stood steadfast in this battle against the unknown.
Chahe aaye hazaaron mushkilen
Chaahe andhiyaare baadal ghire
Ye waqt ki aandhi aayi hai
Aisi bipada dushman pe bhi na gire
Kirkire talks about the many sacrifices people have made during this pandemic, so many of us could survive. It was the average person, as mortal and vulnerable as the next who shined in the darkest of hours:
Kahin oxygen kaa langar hai laga
Kahin ghar ghar khaana pahuchana
Social media ki stories ka helpline ab ban jaana
Doctor nurses ka hafton apne ghar na pahunch paana
Kirkire talks of the many acts of selflessness and bravado that have littered the short, macroscopic memory of the pandemic and will soon become its distilled history. It may have been one of the toughest periods in country’s recent history, but through it heroes have emerged and so has the country’s sacrosanct soul. He writes:
Koi Dheeraj de koi saahas de…
jisse jo bana woh usne kiyaa Aashaa kaa Deepak hum sab ne
kuchh bhi kar ke bujhne na diyaa
tinka tinkaa karke yun
aa pahunche dekho kahaan tak hum
Ruk jaana nahi ek jazbaa hai
Jo dikhlaataa iss desh ka dam
These stories prove that while we may see the world through the bleak lens of tragedy, it has also in its course assured us of its redemptive heart, its gut instinct to fight for life, love and livelihoods. Not just your own, but everyone else’s as well. #RukJaanaNahi is an ode to the spirit of humanity, an assured light that cuts through the abyss of loss and hopelessness to tell us that there is empathy and love beyond the smokescreen of all that struggle. Beyond this period of pain, there is a revelatory echo of humanity at its best.
To listen to Spotify’s podcast #RukJaanaNahi, click here.