“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. When she finally opened her eyes that night, her brother and fiancé were by her side. She could barely speak, just nodded and fell asleep again.
When Baleshwar came to meet her the next morning, Roma was still partly sedated. On his way, Baleshwar had even revisited the spot where Roma had fallen, looking for her belongings because Dinesh had told him that her cellphone and handbag were missing. Not far from the spot, a railway employee assured Baleshwar that some of Roma’s belongings had been found.
“How are you feeling?” Baleshwar asked Roma.
“I’m okay,” Roma whispered.
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.”