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BLOG - ER Ramachandran

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Death on a Train

The train from Mysore towards Bangalore left at 6:45 on 28th October, last Sunday morning, like any other day. Being Sunday, it was less crowded, the passengers comprising mostly middle-aged and elderly and a small group of traders discussing the zooming sensex.After sometime a sense of ennui, sleepiness took over the train amidst vendor’s shout of coffee and tea.

Just before the train reached Mandya, there was some commotion from passengers, two bogies away. Soon after, the Ticket collector came enquiring whether there is a doctor in the train to attend to a passenger who had become unconscious.

As the train steamed into Mandya some passengers informed Mandya Railway police who in turn asked the Engine driver to hold the train .By that time the whistle had been blown from the Guard, and the driver started the train informing the police that Maddur was only 10 Minutes away.

Meanwhile some of us rushed to the aid of patient, but we could not find his pulse. He had collapsed to the side from his sitting position. He was in the Fifties, probably going to work protected with a jerkin over a full sleeves shirt and Pant. When all efforts to wake him up including sprinkling water failed, we started administering Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), by blowing in to his mouth after closing his nostrils. Even repeated, frantic efforts of CPR had no effect on him. The stitch mark from the middle of his chest down indicated, he might have been a heart patient who had undergone surgery. Somebody fished out a tablet strip from his pocket and, as advised by a doctor who was giving instructions on the mobile, we pushed the medicine too. Somebody took out a small book from his pocket with telephone Numbers.

The seemingly longest journey ever that I traveled, of 12 minutes ended as the train steamed in to Maddur. People lifted him and carried to the stone bench at the station. Somebody carried his bag along. Even basic medical facility was not available at Maddur Station, an important junction between Bangalore and Mysore. The Railway Minister never tires of lecturing all over the world how he was instrumental in turning around Indian Railways that netted over RS. 20000 Crores.

It took another 10 minutes to get a stretcher – a stinking dirty leather sheet with two wooden handle at both ends.

Amidst the tearing hurry needed to save a life, life was proceeding at snail’s pace.

Finally he was carried over the rail bridge and our train left for Bangalore with passengers angry, silent and crying.

By that time ,the identity of the passenger was established. Hold your breath. He was a senior Section Engineer (Electrical) working at Railway Workshop in Mysore!

For one who had probably spent most of his working life on a train, the train did not stop for him when it mattered most. The T.C. felt terrible as the train was not stopped by his colleague and a crucial time of 10 minutes was lost. We were left with the thought ‘what might have been’.

As we reached Chennapatna, the T.C. phoned Maddur and found out ,the passenger whom we had all accompanied from Mysore was brought there ‘dead on arrival’.

We all reached Bangalore without our co- passenger for whom the Final Station had come at Maddur itself.

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