An Open Letter from a sister about her brother's near-death train accident

By: Anushka Pendurkar

Published On: March 26, 2018

“Your brother fell of the train.” These words shook my world. Within a matter of seconds,an ordinary day became a tragic  one. 

The morning of February 23rd was like every other, my father went off to open the shop that we own in our compound, and my brother and I left for work. 

I can’t help but keep re-constructing that day in my mind, again and again. 

Saurabh works at a call center in Malad and  boards the daily local train from Bandra to reach his workplace. On that fateful Friday, Saurabh left for work and must have boarded the  train at around 11:15.

It would have been a crowded train, like most other Mumbai locals, where people pulled, pushed and came close to scratching each other’s eyes out to acquire some space in the compartment.

As Saurabh would’ve boarded the train, he must have stood by the door, holding on to a handrail and allowing the other passengers to move inside. 

An unexpected jolt from a passenger behind must’ve  made Saurabh lose his grip and fall of the speeding train. 

The details of this incident have created an image in my mind, that is hard to erase. 

Saurabh fell onto the tracks and lay there for a few minutes before he fell unconscious due to heavy bleeding. Some fellow passengers and onlookers, picked up his crippled body and took him to the nearest hospital.

It was around 12 o'clock when I received the news. I rushed to the hospital and saw Saurabh’s body, covered in blood. I couldn’t count the number of injuries on his body and the places he was bleeding from.  He was  admitted  in  Nanavati hospital where he was taken directly to the ICU. 

The entire situation seemed surreal and I couldn’t help but remember the Saurabh I grew up with; the one who would invest hours in reading up about technology and the latest gadgets, who would be fascinated with automobiles, computers and gaming and who would love spending his off days with close friends. 

The Saurabh that lay in front of my eyes, battling life, seemed so distant from the one I knew. 

At that moment, I realized that I would need to gather all the courage I could, to deal with this difficult time. 

I work in public relations  and my mother is a part time teacher with a monthly income of Rs. 4,000-5000. Whatever little extra income we earn is from the shop that Dad runs and the money that I and Saurabh bring home with our salaries.

I thought the small world that we had created with our earnings, was enough for us to survive in. 

We got a reality check when we learnt about the expenses that would go into Saurabh’s treatment. 

Saurabh was put on  ventilator support. He needed a Neurosurgery, plastic surgery and many other treatments, that added up to  Rs. 25,00,000, a sum we couldn’t even comprehend collecting.  

But luckily, our cloud got its first silver lining when we heard about the concept of crowdfunding through a doctor at Nanavati hospital. I started a fundraiser with Impact Guru, explaining our situation.

And with the kind support of donors, was able to raise close to Rs. 11,00,000 out of the required amount. With the help of the money collected, we could clear Saurabh’s medical bills and get started on his treatments. 

By god’s grace and the generosity of people, my brother is recovering. He is able to walk and talk. 

But the battle is only half won. 

Though Saurabh has been discharged from the hospital, he needs to be on constant medication to recover completely. A plastic surgery is pending for him and we are looking to get that done at a private hospital.

We have exhausted all our savings and the process to collect money has started again. But  Saurabh’s courage  is helping us get through this troubled phase. 

We took time to grapple with the tragedy that my brother had witnessed. We had heard of incidents like these happening to the local travelers of Mumbai but never imagined that our Saurabh would be one of them. 

A shudder runs down my spine when I think of all those citizens who have suffered like my brother.

Saurabh’s story was able to reach people through reputed newspapers, and through social media. We made it a point to spread the news via Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter.

Saurabh’s relatives and friends helped in sharing the post with their family members and friends and widening its reach. 

While all this was on, we were exhilarated by the support we received on Twitter!

Television personalities such as Hina Khan, Divyanka Tripathi, Gautam Rode, Hiten Tejwani, among others retweeted the post and helped it reach as many people as possible.

Aside from this, entertainment portal India Forums helped us in our time of need, by spreading the news through their Twitter account. 

It was truly an overwhelming experience to see such support from not only our loved ones, but complete strangers who could have turned a blind eye to us, but in turn, decided to help. 

Your support has saved my brother’s life. But we will need some more of it to make him hale and hearty again. I wish to see Saurabh get back to his normal life and leave his pain and suffering behind. 

Please pray for his speedy recovery. 

To donate to my fundraiser, click here