It was late in the night and I wanted a nice sleep in a 3 tier berth of K K Express Train chugging its way from Bangalore to Delhi. My mind was experiencing a rewind of incidents which was keeping the sleep at bay. My company had selected me for a deputation to Delhi for one month and asked me to be there at the earliest. I was not comfortable about this since it was imposed on me without considering my personal problems. I wanted to be in Bangalore during that period to tackle certain personal issues. My family was also upset about my long absence as our toddler son had just been admitted to the K G Class. As the assignment was very important, there was no alternative but to take up the journey in a hurry. Because of the short notice, I could not even get an a/c ticket which I was entitled to. It was very hot even at midnight and waves of thoughts kept on lashing the shores of my mind. Finally the fatigue had helped me to slip in to a sleep at some point of time ….
The train was whistling through Maharashtra when I got up at day break. It was hot and sunny outside, and most of the passengers had got up much earlier. There was nothing for me to do and I felt totally out of touch with the world. Remember that this incident took place in 1991 when mobile phones were nonexistent. The very thought
of talking to someone from a running train itself was inconceivable. I could manage an English news paper when the train stopped at one station, but soon got bored with that. I spent time in strolling through the coach, visiting the pantry car & watching the landscape.
I saw one passenger reading a Malayalam News Paper some time late in the evening. The man in his mid thirties appeared to be tough & reserved. I could make out that he was traveling with his wife. I was curious to read that paper, but did not venture to ask him as I was not sure whether he would entertain me.
After finishing the snacks around sunset, I got back to my seat. Suddenly there was a hue & cry as I heard some one shouting in Hindi “Is there any one around who can understand Malayalam language?”
In a natural reaction, I lifted my hand and looked at the guy. He was a hefty man speaking in Hindi. He started telling me that one person was unwell, and was not able to speak properly. His wife was speaking something, but that was in Malayalam language, which no body around could understand. He was very happy to meet me and asked me to follow him. I guessed it could be the same person whom I saw earlier reading a Malayalam News paper. I was right.
The man was visibly under great pain. He was stooping with both hands close to his chest and whispering something. His wife was desperately looking around for help. I sat opposite to them & gently enquired what the problem was. She spoke to me a few words amidst sobs. “Can we get a Doctor? Can we get some Medicines at least? He has developed severe chest pain all of a sudden. I don’t know what to do. ”