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“I was a 10-year-old back then. My Mom, younger sister (aged 8), brother (aged 2) and I were going to New Delhi. We boarded the Sampark Kranti express at 11 AM on Sunday morning. We had to take the sleeper class, as the AC coaches were always booked during the vacations.
At around 12:15 PM, my mom complained of a slight headache, it was summer at its peak. She asked me for a glass of water from the water cooler. As soon as I handed her the glass she fell down with a thud and became unconscious. With the help of my sister, I lifted her and laid her on the seat. We were all very scared. Her body was burning with fever and she was clutching my sister’s hand really tight.
3 seats away from us, there were two young men who said they were doctors. They advised us to shift my mom to AC coach, which may help to bring down her temperature. I and my younger siblings were crying as we didn’t knew what to do. I was talking to my Dad on the phone all this while. And my sister was all alone taking care of my toddler brother, consoling him, while fighting her own tears.
The two doctors shifted my mom to the AC coach. As soon as they laid her on a seat, my mom vomited, while still unconscious. I ran back to my seat and brought a fresh set of salwar kameez and changed her clothes. While, the people in my coach took care of my mom, doing all they could, I was crying hysterically and pleading everyone to help us! As I reached the end of the coach, I approached a woman in her 20s. Seeing me cry, she immediately hugged me and came with me to where my mom was.
Apparently, she was a doctor herself! She checked my Mom and immediately called my Dad saying that if she didn’t get the right treatment immediately, we would lose her. That broke my heart. The train would not stop for the next three stations.The situation was grave. Finally, she herself pulled the chain as the train approached Ballarshah, Maharashtra.
She called for a wheelchair on station, got our and her luggage down from train and headed immediately for the nearest hospital, all single handely in a completely an unknown city. We reached the nearest railway hospital, and guess what? No doctors.
Next, she hired two auto rickshaws and went to a private hospital where they said they did not have ICU facility and everything needed for my mom’s treatment. Her fever was soaring at 108'F and if not catered to immediately, my mom would lose her life. The fever would reach her brain and she would suffer a hemorrhage. A brain hemorrhage. The great woman did not give up. She hired a private ambulance and headed immediately for Chandrapur, 1 hour from Ballarshah, the nearest city with adequate facilities.
All through this chaos, she put a strong face, fighting with concerned authorities for failing to do their duty, and the Autowallas who refused to take us with a patient! She consoled us and said that everything will be okay. It was in the ambulance that she asked about us, and also told me her name was Pooja Bangde, a name I will never forget in this lifetime!
When we reached Chandrapur, she admitted my mom in the ICU of Spandan Hospital under Dr.Vishwas Zade. And then she took us to her acquaintance’s place to spend the night. Lovely people, God bless them! Meanwhile, her family was scolding her on the phone for getting down at an unknown place and taking such a huge risk for strangers. I still remember her reply to them, “Mummy , yaha pe teen chote bacche bhi hai. Unka kya hota? Main unko akela nahi chodh sakti thi. Sorry.”(“Mom, there are three little kids here. What would have happened to them? I couldn’t leave them alone. Sorry”), with a lump in her throat.
The next morning, my Dad reached the hospital directly. We set out for the hospital too. My Mom was slowly regaining consciousness. My Dad, who was crying, thanked Pooja Ma’am profusely and tried to give her money for all the expenses, which she refused at once saying “Sir, ye mera kaam tha!” (“Sir, it was my job”)
By this time, her father-in-law had reached there. She went to my Mom one last time and said “Apna khayal rakhiyega” (“Take care of yourself”). And somewhere, when I got busy with my Mom once she was regaining consciousness, Pooja Ma’am left the place, without ever giving me the chance to thank her. Just like that. Like the Messiah, who had fulfilled his duty. And now it was her time to go.
Thank you Ma’am, for that day you didn’t just save one life but four others too.
Thank you Ma’am for that, you could have just turned a blind eye like many others on that train had chosen to, but you stood up for us, leaving behind all the barriers, and helped strangers whom you knew you would probably never meet again. Thank you again Ma’am, you restored my faith back in HUMANITY. What you did, was an act of sheer courage! Something no one would do.”
Submitted By – Aishwarya Sangu
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