It was getting hotter by the minute. In these early morning hours itself, the air was humid. My dad kept pacing up and down the train aisle, talking to anyone who cared to even lookup. The pantry boy showed up at one end of our compartment, distributing the breakfast orders as per the seats.
‘’Next station Guntur’’….another alf owwer’’, announced the pantry boy Shivanand to my dad. Everyone in the compartment looked at my dad, and then my mom. ‘’Kuch lega Nashta?’’, he inquired. Mom, on the verge of tears, shook her head. She was red-eyed from lack of sleep. Dad muttered, ‘’One tea’’.
A commotion started as Guntur station neared. Loud chattering, heavy bags hauled towards the door and last minute checks ensued. Some of those who were alighting came up to our berth, ‘’God bless sir, don’t worry’’…..’’Children are sensitive no, sometimes happens, it will be alright, give curd’’. One by one they showed their concern and left with a goodbye to my hapless mom and a distraught dad. Some even touched my forehead and blessed me.
The train chugged into Guntur station at last. A voice called out from outside, ‘’Bengali no?’’. Dad turned around to see a mustached middle-aged man in a white safari, ‘’Yes yes’, my dad replied. He, in turn, yelled at someone, ‘’They are here’’!
Shivanand came to dad, ‘’Sir, they are here to meet you, from next compartment’’. A group of men enter our berth, the one in white safari in the front along with a tall slender man in a brown coat. He had a long jet black beard and very sharp features. Before dad could say anything the bearded man began checking on me. Holding me, he opened my tiny palms, he lifted my eyelids, then pinched my stomach. ‘’Since when this happened?’’, he asked, and then without waiting for an answer he picked me up and dashed out, the men escorting him in the trail. Dad ran after them, questioning them, ‘’Who are you..people..where taking my..son..?’’ White safari man hurriedly asked him to follow while himself going into the station master’s office. Mom couldn't hold back her tears anymore. The two other females in the compartment consoled her.
About a mile into the city, the man in brown coat, carrying an unconscious me in his arms, barged into a small clinic. ‘’Mia dekho zara bacche ko’’, he almost ordered the man in doctor’s apron. All the men waited outside except my dad. He kneeled down in front of the doctor, ‘’Kuch kijiye, please help..’’
The train at Guntur was waiting for 20 minutes by now. Mom’s face was stuck in the window grill, scanning all directions. She turned and asked the others, ‘’this train will leave right?’’, it can’t be here too long, my husband and son not to be seen..?”. No one answered anything. Just then the safari man reappeared, ‘’hello sister, train waiting, no problem..’ and he went off.
The doctor, after initial check-up, put me on Saline, injecting a couple of shots into the bottle. ‘’ Sahi Kiya jo bacche ko le aye mia, good that you bought him, his young life was in danger’’, the doctor murmured to the man. He gave a few medicines and wrote a prescription too. After about 35 minutes of treatment, I began showing vital signs. Life was flowing back into my veins, my face, and my tiny glittering eyes. Dad began sobbing inconsolably on seeing me moving. He thanked the doctor profusely, taking out his purse, to which the man in brown coat said, ‘’No sir, please, no need of money, this is my good friend’’.
The party returned to a jubilant mood in the compartment. Everyone's face lit up seeing me sheepishly looking around and grinning. Mom was beside herself hugging me tightly and endlessly kissing my forehead. Dad told her how gracious and helpful the gentleman had been. She thanked him with folded hands. He for the first time smiled. ‘’Sir your name..?’’. He took out a card from his pocket, handing it to my dad, then turned and left with his men.
Abu Bakar Kunj, Social Worker, the card simply said. Later, those who had boarded the train at Guntur and had learned the whole story revealed that the man was a legend in these parts. He had said over the local authorities and helped thousands of people in this area.
Massiha, or Messiah means a savior who turns up unexpectedly to save one’s life or help those in anguish. We couldn't thank the man enough, I could never meet or see the man who saved my life which was about to nearly end at a tender age of two and a half years. Much later, hearing this real-life incident from my parents, my heart went out to this exalted soul on earth, a selfless man who showed the true meaning of Humanity. For such people, the earth will always be a better place to live, and hope will always be alive.