Spotify’s Ruk Jaana Nahi underlines the significance of community in a crisis like the pandemic.


Spotify’s Ruk Jaana Nahi underlines the significance of community in a crisis like the pandemic.

Illustration: Arati Gujar

Often our biggest challenges, we fight alone. The consequences of these challenges too we bear alone. But there comes a moment in life, in this case a pandemic with an ebb and flow, that forces you to count on others. Narrated by celebrated actor Rajkummar Rao, Spotify’s #RukJaanaNahi tells stories of people who, through their acts of courage and kindness, helped reinstall faith in the idea of community and its profound relevance in a period of crisis.

Each week, Rao shares #Storiesofhope, tales of people who went beyond the ordinary instinct of self-preservation to the extraordinary acts of help and support. In a heartwarming episode titled ‘Stronger together’, for example, the actor talks to Arshel Akhter, Harshita Kaushik, Ripunjay Gogoi, Amit Bikram Dey and Sathya Shankaran who cycled miles to the help and aid of others.

The Spotify podcast is also introduced by a moving poem written by Swandand Kirkire. Read with exceptional depth of voice and grace by Rao, the poem talks about both, the courage of those who have braved these torrid times for the sake of others, and the suffering of them who perished in between.

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 about the country as one community, where no one does and will ever feel alone. This pandemic, the poet claims, may have only brought us closer. Unfamiliar faces and the kindness of a stranger may have been the warmest touch the pandemic will leave many with. In a sense, as much as it has torn apart, the pandemic has also stitched life-long bonds. He writes:

Hum sab is desh ke baashinde 

Yahan koi shakhs begaana nahin 

Har dil mein goonj rahi ek baat 

Aye dil tu Ruk jaana nahin

The world has become disconnected, leading to people living in silos and reluctant to engage on a community level. It often takes crises and challenges to remind us that we are ultimately social animals, incapable of living without the touch and warmth of others. #RukJaanaNahi celebrates this idea of community that if not for the pandemic, we may have looked past or assumed had perished with it. Thankfully, reassuringly, it hasn’t.

To listen to Spotify’s podcast #RukJaanaNahi, click here.