Better Late than Never

It was 4.25 pm, 19th December 2008. I alighted from a Kalyan bound local train at the Kanjurmarg station and went to the newspaper shop at the platform and bought a magazine. In the meanwhile the next train towards Kalyan came and stopped at the platform. As usual, I was contemplating of jumping on the track to cross the railway line (am just one among many aamjunta who think of taking a short-cut) after the train leaves in stead of taking the flyover. Was just waiting for this train to leave after which would have taken the short-cut. I was also a bit absent minded and was doing multiple things at a time as usual– calling someone over phone, fidgeting with my magazine and gazing at the waiting train at the platform.

A moment later I heard a huge shriek and a loud commotion. Before could realize anything or take note of the circumstance, saw a person’s lower half of the body including his legs getting pulled into the track by the huge, monstrous iron wheels of the running train! This extraordinary scene was going on just around twenty feet away from where I was standing. Without a seconds delay I ran with whatever force could gather and pulled out that person with all my might. Many people had gathered around to watch the scene by that time. Fortunately, he was saved but a bit injured. However, he was frightened beyond comprehension and so was I.

People came running to us and tried to console him. Some patted him on his back and some thanked his stars to have protected him. He was so shaken that was shivering from head to toe. I supported him physically to the nearest platform bench and took a bottle of water out of my bag. I never usually carry a water bottle; it was rare that day to have one with me. Interestingly, I had not even opened that bottle yet. The gentleman took the bottle gratefully, drank some water from it and washed his face.

He was probably in his early fifties, short in height and slight of build. He said that he lives in Thane and is a teacher in a school in Powai. He travels back home usually by the train which just left and which he was trying to board. Even though he was not in a hurry and the train was not that crowded, he tried to catch the running train, and that had already started and picked up speed. His calculation was wrong, lost control and balance and fell down to be almost pulled into the tracks. It was only a matter of few seconds between life and death….

That was an accident and unwittingly suicidal. He could have avoided that incident with a little more restraint. Anyway, sometimes this happens with many of us. Without realizing the consequences we take some wrong steps either to board running trains, buses or cross roads or drive fast and every time look for some short-cut. Everyone wants to go fast, reach fast and achieve fast – fast, fast, fast. But, fast should not mean that we are so fast that it becomes fatal. I was drawing my own lessons from the incident that I will never try to cross the tracks just to save a few minutes.

The gentleman after being a little stable thanked me profusely and said in Hindi koi jivan lene mein tulla hua hai aur koi bachane mein. Na mein usko pehchanta hoon na mein isko jaanta hoon” (“someone is bent upon taking lives and someone is dedicated to save lives. I do not know either of them”). His statement reminded me of the terror-attacks – some had come to kill us and some died in the wake to save us.

Anyway, that is called life and death, beyond our calculation and beyond any short-cuts.

Aamjunta take care of yourselves…Better late than never!

23 Responses

  1. Thanks for posting this. A real wakeup call for all. Else we will just reach nowhere, very fast………

  2. One such incident happened with me also. Well, no one got hurt but some of us attempted to get into a running train. That was the last time I got into a running train. Now, safety first.

  3. Good post. This happens with many people. We just do not visualize the consequences, and do something really unnecessary. It has happened with me too some 4 months back, was talking over phone and did not realize the train coming. some one pulled me and saved me. Better not to talk, while traveling. Safety first, then the others 🙂

  4. Thanks to all of you for your concern. Just to add to the local train safety and the number of accidents happened in the past, please visit the following URL.

    As per the statistics, it is more than 20 accidental deaths per day in Mumbai only. Aamjunta be careful.

  5. That would be his luckiest day. Like him, many of us just neglect few important things. People become more materialistic and less spiritual/true-happiness conscious. We always run behind the schedules, targets, appointments. If we pause for a moment and look back, all we can find in our life is a BIG COMPLEX TIME TABLE. We need to change that and we should learn how to trade the materialistic/quantitative things with spiritual/qualitative aspects of our lives.

  6. Your post reminds me of a story related to one of the Judges of Orissa High Court. A lawyer reached the court late for an important murder case hearing. He was driving from a far end of Orissa (Sambalpur) to Cuttack.

    By the time the lawyer reached the judge was already on bench and the court was in sitting. The lawyer was tensed as his clients were also waiting anxiously for him. He felt guilty as well because he knew that the judge in question is a very strict person. In order to allay the situation the lawyer immediately went near the Justice Bench and gave his excuse with all the anxiousness in his voice, ” Your Honour, I drove my car in a very high speed to reach on time. But, there was a lot of traffic and I was almost on the verge of an accident to be on time for the court. Your Honour may kindly forgive the delay and allow me to defend my client’s case”.

    The judge who was a veteran of his field seemed calm and composed. He just uttered a one liner, “I am sorry Mr.X, but you should be first charge sheeted and presented before the court for rash driving. Nothing is more important than your own life, not even your client’s life or your profession and not even the court. You may now proceed with your case”.

    Yes nothing is more important than human lives, your own and also others. Nice post and congrats sir for a 10,000 marker of aamjunta 🙂

  7. Thanks balue and anne for the real life story. Life is first, then the others. Every thing can go and come many times, but life comes and goes only once. That has to be remembered.

  8. Quite shocking story i must say, thanks for sharing this and people should learn from this as we see such incidents daily on railway stations. People travel in trains daily so it becomes a routine for them to take such risks, many times nothing happens and they think that trying such stunts are safe and they are experts of doing such things as they do it on regular basis.Better safe than sorry.

  9. AJ .. i would congratulate you for being the chosen one for the inspiring job ..normally people go blank …seeing unexpected happenings .. like accidents .. and they remain numb instead of helping …
    secondly you are so right although life and death is not under our control that does not mean we go about risking it for a fast life which ultimately yields you nothing ..
    Mumbai is fast and I remember this incident in 2011 March.. I caught train from Dadar to Meera Rd .. it was crowded as expected and normal.. I saw an irritating face pushing me from behind to make space and getting hold of something to mainatain balance .. it was over crowded and I was doing my bit with the crowd to push others here and there selfishly until … there was noise – DHUPPPPP !! and then arey gir gaya gir gaya … and some people suggesting to stop the train and some declaring he must be dead and the incident better be informed about when the next station comes !!
    To my astonishment …the chap with the irritating face was missing .. 😦
    I had seen him before he fell down .. I dont know if he was alive as the train was moving faster… but that day was the last day when I would get irritated of anyone trying make space in Mumbai locals … although i left Mumbai in few days and since then I have never gone back ..
    But I have become cautious !!

  10. Well narrated. Thanks for the lesson.

  11. Many such accidents can be avoided if we take care of the very minimal things. Some times the ignorance also plays a dangerous role in such kind of accidents.

    Eye opening one. Thanks for sharing your real life experience.

  12. Very good thought. I am quite sure that it will help the readers a lot. Very catchy punchline. There must be some awareness program for this kind of accidents.

  13. In my school one days, we loved travelling the bus on foot-board. On one such occasion I tried to board a running bus and it dragged me a short distance. I still remember that day.

  14. You are right aamjunta. See the video link

    another shocking accident in Mumbai. This is very common in Mumbai and other part of the Indian cities.

  15. Uff. . . If aamjanta don’t use foot bridges, subways, footpath …plz get back my tax money…

  16. My sincere respect to you for helping that man and it also for all the other fellow person please use your senses and never be in there is a saying in Assamese “Deri houk Durgoti Nohouk” means Der hi sahi koi anhoni na ho…

  17. I love your.. blog very much …and I have awarded you with Liebster .. you may collect it here.. 🙂

  18. Really thankful to you for this post and for your work on that day. And really touched with the words of the old man — ‘koi jivan lene mein tulla hua hai aur koi bachane mein. Na mein usko pehchanta hoon na mein isko jaanta hoon’

    Really it is better to be late than reaching never – a punch line 🙂

  19. True, life should be lived not destroyed; late is better than never.

  20. Thanks a lot Niranjang for the award.

  21. So true. Having lived in Mumbai for almost a decade and NY for several years, can so relate to fast life and some wrong judgment calls we make in haste. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Though this could have been ended up with a different mode, your presence of mind and helpful nature helped save the man’s life.
    Another interesting observation is that, people witness many accidents on the road, but rarely does anyone care to stop by and offer help. It is typically the pedestrians, the folks on cycle and two-wheelers are the ones run to offer help to the injured. The higher the so called social status in the hierarchy of people, the lower is their probability of stopping by to offer help.

  23. True that, I once saw a rail accident. Cant blame it entirely on the railway commuters or railways. I think sensitization is crucial

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