“Any problem? You are sweating profusely and holding your hand on your chest,” I asked the well-dressed man over fifty as he leaned on me in great discomfort. I was travelling to Chennai. The train halted at Bengaluru Cantonment station for a few minutes. I had to repeat the question before he replied in feeble voice, “Yes I am not really well. I have a history of heart problem and I think it is an attack. Can you kindly help me in reaching a hospital? The pain is unbearable and I am feeling breathless.”
“Do you have any one at Bengaluru? Can you give me the contact number?”
“None. I came this morning on some business and….,” trailed of as he closed his eyes.
Without wasting a moment, I decided in a split second to help him out unmindful of the interview I had the next day. I knew that timely medical attention was essential in heart attacks. With the help of co-passengers, I lifted him bodily to the platform and had his luggage and mine brought down. The train left soon immediately. With the help of the station-staff I was able to take him in a taxi to the nearest good hospital. Once in the emergency, the doctors took over inserting on him various tubes and administering medicines. In a short while they rushed him to ICCU.
I was lost in my thoughts as I reclined on a sofa outside the ICCU. It was past 11.30 PM. The interview didn’t matter much as I was in a senior position already. I waited for him to get stable to collect his contact-address for informing his relatives.
“Are you his son? He is stable as of now but would wait for a day to watch his progress. Please fill in the forms for admission and pay the advance” said a charming young doctor from the ICCU.
I replied “No, I am just a co-passenger in the train. When he fell sick and I saw his condition was serious, I decided to discontinue my journey and rushed him here. I am relieved that he is stable and in safe hands”
“My god, how compassionate and kind you have been to a total stranger! Had you not brought him promptly as you did, he would have surely died. You know, about thirty percent of patients die before they reach a hospital or get medical attention. Lucky he had you as a co-passenger and his chances of survival appear good”, she said.
I requested her to find out from the contents of his pocket, the contact-numbers of his home and assured her that in the meanwhile I would fill the forms and make advance payment after talking to his people.
She smiled at me and said “I am simply touched by your extreme kindness and compassion not ordinarily seen. I will be here very soon with the details. I am actually a little free till the next emergency case arrives.”
My thoughts went back several years to my dad. We were then in Kolkata. He was travelling one night to Bhilai on official business. He suffered a heart attack midway in the train in the middle of the night. His co-passengers were sympathetic but made no efforts to attempt a CPR or to contact the guard to keep a doctor in readiness at the next station. The train moved on even as my dad was struggling with angina and breathlessness. By the time the train reached the next station that was at quite a distance, he had breathed his last. It was in the morning as I was leaving for my school that my mom got the telephone call breaking the shocking news. Everyone felt that had he been given prompt medical assistance; he would have lived. But he was unlucky to be in a train in a desolate stretch with none capable of rendering a CPR.This was etched in my mind.
I was woken up from my reverie by the doctor as she said “Dozed off? Here are the contact details. He is stable and you can see him. One thing I wish to say. I have never come across such a nice person like you in my life. Tell me, what made you break your journey for an unknown person and save his life? Do you live in Bengaluru?”
“I will talk to you after meeting the patient. Please wait for me” I replied before I went to meet him in ICU. He looked much better, though wan. He smiled at me and profusely offered thanks for saving his life like a son would for his dad. He asked for my details to be given to the doctor and that his son would get in touch with me. As he went on talking about his debt of gratitude, I motioned him to silence and said that I would meet him the next day.
When I saw the doctor waiting for me, I introduced myself as Krishnan and gave all details about me and my mobile number.
“I am Radha. You haven’t told me what made you break the journey for a stranger. This is something unusual and admirable “she said
I then related the incident about my dad and his tragic end in the train without medical aid. I told her, “I realized when I saw the old man in distress how much he needed someone to help him. I decided in a split-second that no matter the broken journey or the missed interview, it was a call that I can hardly ignore. I am happy that I could help him survive the crisis.”
“Here is my number. You can call me anytime for updates. I would be happy to be of help to such a good Samaritan,” she said with a bewitching smile extending her hand.
I clasped her hand with both hands and said with a mischievous grin” Be forewarned. You will get innumerable calls for updates this night and hope to continue thereafter.”
“My pleasure. I look forward to, Krishnan,” said Radha casting her mesmerizing spell on me.
It may be of interest for readers to know that the old man recovered completely and as a token of gratitude sent me a handsome reward the details of which would remain undisclosed at his specific request. But what was the most heartening outcome from this broken journey was what started as calls for getting updates took a romantic turn that culminated in my finding my life partner in the attractive doctor.