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B 153, Nehru Colony, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India
B 153, Nehru Colony, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India
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 December 10, 2010, a Friday, Roma Talreja arrived at the call centre bright and early. The BCom graduate had been working there for two years, loving her job talking and connecting to customers, and making new friends there. After work she went to the cafeteria, where she and her friends joked, laughed and made plans for the weekend. Then, heading home alone after her shift, Roma was looking forward to having supper with her parents and brother, and a long phone chat with her fiancé Vijay.
Baleshwar Mishra has a very different story. The lanky youngster from Mirzapur, UP, is an unemployed high-school dropout who’d recently come to Mumbai. Living with his two older brothers, his job hunt had proved fruitless. Now he was treading water, and had esigned himself to the fact that he was running out of options. He had spent his day with a friend, grabbed lunch and watched a movie. As Baleshwar boarded the train home, he pondered his future. But, all he could now think of was saving a stranger’s life.
Innumerable motorists drove by, some even slowing down to see the young man struggling to hold the blood-covered woman in his arms.
As the Mumbai suburban electric train made its 20-second, 6:32pm halt at a station, commuters swarmed out and into its 12 packed coaches. It’s a regular scene in and around India’s most populated metropolis. Having just managed to squeeze herself into a ladies’ compartment, 21-year-old call centre executive Roma Talreja tried to settle into a corner near the door.
Her hands reached for the steel railing above, but finding only air, Roma was thrown out of the coach. The clattering roar of the train muffled the thud of her fall on to the ground more than a metre below. She was knocked senseless.
Standing near the door of another train speeding in the opposite direction, 20-year-old Baleshwar Mishra couldn’t believe what he had just seen—a young woman in a black salwar-kameez lying next to the tracks. Meanwhile, gasps and screams emanated from his compartment. “There’s a girl by the tracks!” the voices cried out.
Impulsively, Baleshwar went and grabbed the train’s red emergency chain and pulled it down frantically. The train screeched, slowing down. He then surveyed the compartment full of wary faces. “Let’s go and help her!” he shouted. But nobody volunteered, afraid of getting involved, of being inconvenienced perhaps. But Baleshwar started to sprint back between the tracks as his train picked up speed again and disappeared.
Baleshwar was so far away from Roma, he couldn’t see her. I hope I’m not too late, he thought, gasping for breath. After running for several minutes, he found her sprawled by the side of the tracks. “Behenji, aap theek hai?” he asked [Sister, are you okay?]. But there was no response, and no help in sight—they were alone somewhere between two stations five kilometres apart in Thane district, which borders Mumbai.
Baleshwar could see blood flowing out of a gash behind the young woman’s head. Saying a silent prayer, he lifted the five-foot-two, 50-kilo Roma gingerly and made his away across the tracks, looking out for trains and searching for a way out. He crossed through some shrubbery, and followed the direction of the sounds until he found the road. “My sister is injured,” he implored motorists who drove by. “Please help me take her to a hospital.” But no one stopped.
Just when he had begun to lose hope, a tempo-truck pulled over and its driver, a middle-aged man who spoke Gujarati, stepped out.
“Help me,” Baleshwar pleaded, and the man helped Baleshwar lay Roma down in the back of his truck. Baleshwar was quickly telling the driver what had happened when a traffic policeman arrived. “Take the girl to Airoli,” suggested the cop, “there’s a hospital there.” But Baleshwar disagreed. Airoli was at least 10 kilometres away. “There’s a closer place I know of,” said Baleshwar. Ten minutes later, they arrived at a small hospital where nurses helped take the young woman in. But as the facility lacked personnel and equipment, the on-duty physician wasn’t able to do more than give basic first aid. He advised that she be moved to a nearby hospital.

Baleshwar and the driver had no choice but to move her back into the truck. When the vehicle lurched forward, Roma stirred and her eyes fluttered open.
“What’s your name?” asked Baleshwar, who was with her in the back of the truck.
“Roma,” she managed to grind out.
“Whom can I call?” he asked quickly, fearing that she would black out once more.
 “My brother Dinesh,” she said, slowly giving him Dinesh’s cellphone number. Baleshwar memorized it and watched as Roma’s eyes soon lost focus and rolled back into the darkness.
“Chacha, can I borrow your mobile?” Baleshwar asked, and the driver passed him his phone.
Dinesh Talreja was wrapping up his day at his marketing job at a retail outlet in Ulhasnagar when his phone rang from a number he didn’t recognize.
“Dineshbhai?” a young voice asked. “Your sister Roma has fallen off a train and we’re taking her to Divine Hospital in Ghansoli.”
“I’m on my way,” said Dinesh, rushing towards his motorcycle. 
Roma arrived at Divine Multi-speciality Hospital & Research Centre minutes later. Dr Anil Agarwal, the medical director there, seeing the extent of Roma’s injuries, admitted her immediately to the ICU without any paperwork.
He asked Baleshwar to hang around until Roma’s family arrived. That’s when they noticed that the driver, having done all he could, had slipped away with his truck. Oh, I couldn’t thank him! Baleshwar thought. Roma was still unconscious. But her X-rays showed that although the injuries looked severe, all she needed were deep wound sutures. There would be no lasting damage, but Dr Agarwal believes she could have bled to death had nobody helped her.
In a few days Roma would make a full recovery. “I can’t imagine what would have happened if Baleshwar hadn’t been there,” she says, amazed to learn of the manner in which she had been rescued. 
“I think it’s astonishing that a stranger would jump off a train and risk his life for me. I can never repay Baleshwar.”
“I’m new to Mumbai, but I’ve noticed that people here are afraid,” says Baleshwar, who is still looking for a job. “They fear getting trapped in the courts or with the police.”
So why did he do it? “She needed help,” Baleshwar puts it simply. “That day it was Roma. Tomorrow it could be you or me by the tracks, bleeding and alone.”

Post Author: guru shishya

4 Replies to “2 strangers..one day..”

  1. Awesome dude … a very well written, well explained, narrating almost every feeling. I could visualise each and every moment of the story as I read along.Give me MORE of these please…

  2. lekhak sahab ho gaye ho aap to … yaar itna kaise jaant hai mumbai ke baare mein … itna to main bhi nahi jaanta 🙁

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