Sunday, October 16, 2016

Help Kiran Today

Dear Friends, well-wishers, special greetings to all #spbm2016 event organizers, sponsors and the special community for which all marathons events are made for – the Runners.
Yesterday was certainly a very special day for the Bengaluru City since it witnessed one of the largest marathon events, the Bengaluru Marathon or simply #SPBM206. I too participated in the Full Marathon category as part of my 16th week running campaign #424242runningto raise the awareness on the importance of first-aid & CPR training, and Road Safety.
This event was a considered to be a grand success while attracting 15,000 enthusiastic participants from Namma City Bangaluru and also from various other cities. The organizers and the sponsors have really spent night and day in executing a massive event like this. It was amazing to witness the spirit of running, the sheer number of growing running community with their supporters buzzing on the streets of the usually busy Bengaluru Streets. Many first timers had made an important mark in their life with a first 5k or a half marathon or even a full marathon participation. Many runners (easy and the serious types) also had achieved their PB (personal bests). There was also a huge community of volunteers cheering and supporting several specially challenged people including blind runners. The event also witnessed few missing their target time by few seconds but walking away with huge amount of learning experience. The number of Facebook & Twitter Posts, blog posts with colorful pictures speak volume about the planning, perseverance, hard-work that went into making this day a special one in one’s life. The event ended in a big fanfare with celebrations and loud music that rocked the entire Sree Kanteerva Stadium.
Congratulations for being part of this memorable and lifelong health, fitness and fun journey.
While the extended running and sports community was celebrating in one part of this beautiful Garden city, there were few who went through certain hardships due to the blocked roads and diverted traffic in the Bangaluru city.
The city commuters were paying a huge price to accommodate this running event. The traffic was thrown out of spin in certain areas and one could witness impatient and irate motorists at various places.
After crossing the 20th kilometer mark, I was about to reach the Domlur flyover. One of the familiar runners drew my attention and said "Kannan, there is an accident". I looked further on the road and saw a small group of people in the median somewhere in the middle of the flyover. The one side of the flyover was having a traffic pile up, presumably due to the accident, with many curious motorists rubbernecking the accident scene. The right side of the flyover leading up to the Inner Ring Road had runners going and also returning after the loop at Sony World signal. I sprinted towards the group.
After reaching the crowd what I saw was shocking. There was a young man sitting in the median crying out in pain. There was a pool of blood next to his right leg on the median. He was seriously injured. I found that someone had already attempted to tie his leg with a towel. In the first sight I could tell that the right First-aid was missing. I loudly said to the crowd that I was a trained first responder and requested them to first clear that place. Also requested one more fellow runner who came to help to support the victims head, asked the man to lie down and I made an attempt to keep his leg elevated to control the bleeding. I also made an attempt to apply pressure on the towel to control the bleeding and also lift his leg – that’s when I found that his leg was completely shattered and I could feel the shattered bones moving inside and his feet was dangling awkwardly. I realized that was not helping him and he was screaming out of pain. I also found that the bystanders, some race volunteers and people who were wanting to help him had already called for an Ambulance. There was a traffic cop talking on the phone and also was attempting to manage the traffic.
I tried to assess his injury and found that his foot was ripped open in multiple places and some of the bones were visible. There were blood everywhere and the scene was horrific. He had some head injury (later found that his helmet had protected him – but unfortunately the visor had pierced through his forehead). He also had multiple injuries on his right hand fingers. Looking at this man’s condition, I only prayed to the God to give him the best courage to go through this grueling experience. With a gentle pressure on the towel around his right injured foot, and with his leg held above his heart level, the bleeding was slowing down. The other runner was helping to calm him and was holding his head in support. Everyone in the scene was attempting to comfort to him and provide strength. I asked for his name and also given him assurances that he was doing great and it was all temporary. Kiran, the young victim, was under too much panic and he had already started making calls to his Mom and Dad to inform about his condition. He was under severe pain and crying.
A few moments before, Kiran was actually caught by surprise and thrown out of his bike, fell down and run over by a fully loaded tempo with cooking gas cylinders. This was a bad accident and this wasn’t a great day for him.
I was shouting to get a thick cardboard or book or newspaper to immobilize the leg. At that middle of the road unfortunately there wasn’t anything of that sort available. Within the next 5 mins I heard the Ambulance siren and then came the Ambulance dashing in. The ambulance had only the driver and there was no paramedic or any other trained personal to attend an emergency situation like this. The driver had a good heart to drive and carry victims. He did not seem to have been trained on first-aid. There was no first-aid kit, no gloves (my hand, hip pouch and my running shorts were socking blood) or any material to support and to stabilize the victim. It would be a dishonor if we had to call this vehicle an Ambulance. The few positive things that were seen in that situation were, the people out there to support, the comforting feeling of seeing a working Ambulance, a stretcher and a driver with a great heart.
I was holding Kiran’s leg. With the help of few men around, I got inside the ambulance first, we coordinated the movements with the stretcher shifted Kiran inside. While still holding his leg in an attempt stabilize, I sat deep inside the ambulance with my back resting on the wall/glass window right behind the driver. The ambulance door was shut.
Even under that chaotic situation, there was a brief moment of silence inside the ambulance. I felt the darkness and loneliness combined with anxiety and fear. It was just Kiran and myself inside that Ambulance. In that brief moment of silence I heard the Ambulance engine firing, it took some time for me to realize that Kiran’s leg was not yet stabilized and I was only supporting it with my hand. This was not at all a great idea. I was jolted left and right with the sudden movement. This was causing excruciating pain for Kiran. I was cursing myself for not able to help him to stabilize the injured leg before moving. I was actually hurting Kiran further. The ambulance door suddenly opened and I found someone throwing both my running campaign boards inside. I just remembered that I was carrying them all through my campaign since morning and while supporting Kiran someone removed it from my back. I also felt guilty for not able to use them as props for stabilizing Kiran. I started shouting continuously and asked the driver to go slowly without causing too much of movement. He immediately obliged. Within the next few moments I managed to carefully keep Kiran's leg supported over my stomach and thighs. He was calming down. His phone was continuously ringing and I had to snatch it away from him and asked him to calm down, assured him that he was the strongest man I had ever seen.
Within minutes the ambulance reached the Manipal Hospital and came to a stop. The door was opened and I continuously was shouting the security who was assisting to get the emergency staff or a doctor. The ER staff was put in action and within the next few minutes they moved him inside, connected with the devices to monitor and stabilize him. Finally the curtains were pulled and I came out of that ER room. My body was stinking with metal with blood all over me.
Within the next 30 minutes Kiran’s parents arrived in that place and I was having a big sigh of relief. My head was throbbing with ache, a moment of satisfaction, a sense of anger, helplessness and I decided to sit there in the emergency room bench for few minutes. I heard a sweet voice “Sir, would you like to have some water” – It was amazing to see a nursing staff saw me and offered me some water. I thanked her and also came to know from her that she saw me running somewhere on the course while she was coming to the hospital. She also advised me to clean the blood stains with soap and offered me sterile bandage.
Since the situation was under control, I decided to leave that place. I spoke to Kiran’s Dad and brother and given them assurance that Kiran would be alright. His Dad was in tears and gave me a hug.
If only there were no accidents – Even though this wasn’t the experience that I wanted to go through – especially on my Road Safety awareness campaign, I was thanking God for giving me the courage to provide the support yesterday. I also thanked the God for sending everyone at that place at the right time to provide the best possible support to Kiran.
After spending about 45 minutes in the hospital I decided to head back and complete the marathon. It was completely a strange experience for me since this was the first time I had the experience of running last in a marathon course. But with confidence and vigor I was sprinting back to the Domlur Flyover and got into the Inner Ring Road towards Sony World junction. There were few marathon route volunteers recognized me and enquired about Kiran’s well-being. From that point on wards the water points were closed and the red traffic cones were being removed by the volunteers. At the loop back point the timing mat was about to be removed but I managed to sprint through that with a relief that I was on track to finishing the run well within the time allotted by the organizers. I also filled up my Camelback with 2-3 liters of energy drink, picked some biscuits and oranges to stock to finish the remaining 18 kms without worrying about fuel/hydration.
I entered the stadium after spending 6 hrs and 27 minutes on the course including the time spent attending to Kiran.
This will certainly be an unique marathon event – this will stay in my memory for life long.
At the finish line I met the race organizers and spoke about this incident and requested for a support. The initial reaction was that this was an incident occurred outside the race area and no runner was involved. I also mentioned that may be this accident wouldn’t have happened if the race did not happen on this day. I was having very little hopes when I received an assurance to look at this case after the event was over.
I spent some time interacting with many runners and their family at the finish line and also distributed the Orange and Yellow safety cards but couldn’t really stand there for a longer time since I was mentally exhausted from this experience. I left Sree Kanteerva stadium and headed back to my Brothers home.
After returning back home in the evening, I spoke to Kiran’s Dad and brother to understand their background and their financial conditions. I somehow felt that I had some moral obligation to support this family since such events provides a safe platform for all the runners to experience running safely inside the city environment. I decided to setup a crowd funding platform in Ketto and reach out to all my contacts. Since yesterday, I’ve sent around 100+ personal emails, sent many tweets and SMS messages, and also made several phone calls to my friends to provide support to Kiran.
It was simply amazing to find that this campaign, in less than 24 hrs, has already received attention and more than 20 people have contributed. The total contribution as of 18-Oct-2016 at 8.30 am stands to Rs. 44,700 + Rs. 5,000 in cash to be collected. I’m simply thrilled by this support and the spirit of people to help.
Yesterday evening, Kiran's Dad confirmed that they have already filed an FIR with the police. I spoke to the Manipal Hospital Ortho team and found that Kiran is expected to undergo a plastic surgery today/tomorrow to reconstruct his leg.
I’m glad to know that today already some of the running buddies and well-wishers have reached out to the Shriram Properties Bengaluru Marathon organizers and sought their support. I’m hoping this comes through too.
My humble request to each one of you to contribute little for this cause. I'm sure money alone can't bring back someones shattered legs. But the hope to get back to normal is really needed to be high and let each one of us be part of Kiran's life journey, wish him good luck for his ambitions, a responsible citizen and to become an IAS officer one day.
Please consider this as a humble personal request and pour your contributions.

Follow the link to the fundraising page at
Please share this post to as many people as you can to reach the target of raising Rs. 5,00,000/- (~7500 USD). Please demonstrate that as runners we show the spirit of sportsman ship in the sport as well as outside. Show the entire world that we all respect other human being by providing a tiny support in whatever possible manner.
Join me and the entire Sahaya LRTS team. Lets Raise the Spirits of Kiran and his family.
Finally - my humble request for each one of you to get trained on First-Aid and CPR - I do organize this course through my personal initiative and the yet to formally setup Sahaya-Lets Raise the Spirits NGO. I partner with Alert - We Care to connect with the community to provide first-aid and CPR training. These skills will teach you to be confident and to attend to any emergency situation. These skills will make you a situational leader to drive such difficult situations that we come across in our every day life.
Be Safe! Be there to Safe!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

6 things to change in Indian Railways and an unforgettable story from my journey

10-Sep-2016 train number 17604 Kachiguda Express, I was on my way to Hyderabad from Bangalore.

It was around 11.15 pm, I woke up from my already disturbed sleep for two reasons.  Firstly, the roof lights were on. Secondly, amidst the quite A/C sleeper coach humming noise and the constant titak-titak-titak-titak's from the running train, I heard someone coughing continuously.  When I opened my eyes, from my lower berth seat, I saw a lady in Burqa with a man sitting next to her in the side berth on the other side of the aisle.  The man sat with a kerchief in his mouth was slowly coughing and the women appeared to be consoling him.

I got up and requested that lady to turn off the lights.  The lady responded to me in Hindi and said "my husband has been vomiting blood and he is unwell…. I don't know what to do now"

Hearing this, I was thrown off from my sleep completely and I felt a sense of uneasiness.  I got down to assess the situation and see if there was someway I could assist them.  I asked the lady about her husband's condition.  As she spoke, she took out a medical records file from her bag.  I opened the file and found a document with, "DEPARTMENT OF MEDICAL ONCOLOGY, DISCHARGE SUMMARY" printed.  I understood that the couple were on their way to Hyderabad to get a chemotherapy treatment for the man.

I really couldn't connect with all the medical terms typed in the discharge summary but was able to understand he was getting treatment for a carcinoma on his tongue.  I thought, its a possibility that he was having bleeding from his mouth and they both were panicking for a blood-vomit which could be a much more serious issue.  I was losing patience and realized trying to understand the discharge summary was a futile attempt.  I was driven by the situation and was in a hurry to find some help.

Since April 2016, my life had taken an interesting twist (read the story here...).  I have started paying a lot of attention to the First-Aid and emergency response topics and also started few initiatives to raise public awareness through "Be Safe! Be there to Save!" & #424242running campaign through my NGO SahayaLRTS.  In theory, I know a variety of first-aid procedures for injuries due to accidents and for few commonly occurring medical conditions.  A cancer victim possibly vomiting blood was something I had only seen in movies and had no idea about what first-aid procedures to follow. 

Was he supposed to sit or stand? should he eat or drink anything? is he allowed to lie down?  I was also thinking about the possible choking from blood entering his lungs and concerned about it.  I was clueless at that time and only wished I was some kind of doctor with super powers to heal the man's condition by a simple touch.

I opened Google maps in my phone to find out the exact location of our train.  The train had just crossed a place called Veldhurhi and the next closest station was Kurnool around 35 kms away.  I also launched the phone browser to search for the first-aid procedure for a medical condition like this but couldn't continue due to poor network signal.  I hated that moment.  To my luck, I was able to dial the Omega Hospital emergency number found in the Discharge Summary.  After two rings and a short chat the operator connected me to the emergency duty doctor.  I explained the situation, shared the patient number and asked guidance.  The duty doctor advised me to immediately admit him in a nearest hospital to get the bleeding arrested.   He also asked me to have him sit or stand till he gets to the hospital to avoid chocking.  I passed on the instructions to the lady.

I then rushed to the adjacent compartments to look for the TTE (Train Ticket Examiner) to see if he could alert and get an ambulance or doctor in Kurnool.  After crossing through 3 compartments I was relived to see the TTE.  I greeted him and found his name to be Mr. Janardhanan.  I explained the situation and urged him to make some calls to get some help.  He was very calm and accompanied me to meet the couple and asked them if they wanted to request any doctor.  He appeared to be following protocols and I learnt later that stopping a train for any emergency, the TTE needs to answer a lot to his authorities.   He looked for some number and dialed, spoke in Telugu, explained the situation and requested to arrange for a doctor.

I asked the TTE to look for any doctors traveling in the train.  From the passenger manifest we were lucky to find a doctor by the name Dr. V Rao traveling in the first class compartment.  I was relieved a bit.  I assured the lady some support and with the TTE we rushed towards the first class compartment to fetch the doctor.

After crossing 2 compartments I was jolted to find a very old man in white shirt and white pants lying down in the vestibule on the floor between the compartments.

His head was down and tongue was drooping out and he was leaning on the toilet wall.  I sprinted near him and started tapping the man's shoulder.  I shouted and asked if he was Ok!   I checked his shirt pocket to see if he had any ID and to my disappointment there was no ID in his pockets.

I was thinking about the situation and about what I had gotten myself into.  It all started with the man with cancer in one compartment with blood on his mouth and now there is another emergency like situation with this old gentleman.

We were very fortunate there.  The old man started responding and moved his head.  He could barely open his eyes but was trying to lift his right hand to get up from there.  I continuously shouted and asked him what really happened and if he was hurt.  He did not say anything but he wanted to get up.  He appeared to be fine but had fallen down in between the vestibules due to the compartments constantly shaking.  He was really old too.  I palpated his spine to look for injuries and found nothing.

While he was lying down I requested the TTE to get into the A/c compartment to find out who he was traveling with and to get some more support.  The TTE went inside and came back real quick.  This old man was traveling with his wife and she had no idea that her husband was lying down outside the compartment.  With the help of the TTE I lifted the old man and took him inside the cabin.  We made him lie down on his side berth seat.  He was extremely week and fragile. His wife confirmed about his diabetic condition and that he was running really low on sugar.

The TTE turned on the light and I started waking up the co-passengers in the compartment and asked to get some sugar or any sugary soft drink.  Few hands extended towards me with chocolates and cakes but there was no sugar or sugary drink.  I took some cake and started feeding the old man.  He showed a bit of reluctance in the beginning but started eating.  We settled him down on the lower berth bed in the recovery position and I measured his pulse.  The pulse was alright.  She mentioned that another possibility that the man had consumed a sleeping pill.   The situation was very confusing for me to deal with.

After standing there for a few minutes, I checked his pulse again- he also started moving and was looking for his pillow.  Now I was gaining confidence and all of us attending to him felt much relieved.  The lady told us that her husband (79 years) and herself (69) went to Puttaparthi and were returning back to Hyderabad.  Till about 30 mins before his fall she was sitting next to him but dozed off and at that time the old man decided to use the bathroom and had fallen down.  He was lying there for more than 20 mins unattended.

All of a sudden, we realized that we had a task of finding a doctor to help the man with cancer and we got dragged into attending another situation involving an old man.  Now that the situation with the old man was under control, I asked TTE to take me to the doctor.  He flipped the manifest again and said "Sir- problem…"  after a short pause he continued "this old man is Dr. V Rao - seat number 11 LB…"

With a lot of reluctance we had to accept the situation and move on.  At that time the train was probably 15 mins away from Kurnool.  We went back to the couple and gave them further assurance to find some support in Kurnool.  I then decided to call 108 and was connected to an operator.  I explained the situation and requested him to send an ambulance to the Kurnool station within the next 10-15 mins.  He suggested me to call after the train arrived in Kurnool since there would be an ambulance readily available (usually) at that time of the day.  In the meantime, the lady had contacted some of her relatives living in Kurnool and asked them reach the station.  I was getting anxious.

At the Kurnool station the trained pulled in and the couple got down. They bid good bye and I prayed to the God to take care of this man and his family.

After reflecting on what just happened, the TTE and I decided to move on and settle down and catch some sleep.  I felt extremely relieved but ended up dozing off with mixed thoughts.

The train finally arrived at Hyderabad in the morning.  I got down from my compartment and ran towards the first class compartment to meet the old couple.  I was so happy to find the doctor and his wife slowly walking towards the exit with their bags.  The doctor was looking absolutely fine and sound.  His wife smiled and thanked me. She introduced me to her husband.  He was completely clueless about the series of events in the night and the amount of panic and confusion he managed to create.  I offered my help to get their suitcase and bag till the exit and also requested them to pose for a selfie.  They obliged with a smile.

While walking towards the exit we chatted and it came to my surprise that this doctor was an oncologist.  

6 things to change in Indian Railways system

This train ride and the disturbing experience kept me agitated about the uncertainties that we get to deal around us.  It kept me wondering about the safety of the medically vulnerable population and the fragile senior citizens traveling in India - especially those using public transportation.

Since the system around is not so friendly and has no science behind its design it is prudent to be prepared.  It is also my humble request to the Rail Minister to bring in drastic reforms to make the train journey a memorable and a safe one.

1.  If you are diabetic and there is a history of becoming hypoglycemic (abnormally low sugar), it is absolutely necessary to wear a medical tag or an ID explaining your medical conditions.  Also don't forget carry a sachet of sugar or a small candy in your pocket.  Indian Railways should have Emergency Response kits in the trains - could be under the care of the TTE but its a must.  I also hope all the TTE's and the train attendants are trained on First-Aid & CPR.  Indian Railways also must insist the medical condition of the travelers to be declared while making the reservations.

2.  The Indian Railways, the world's largest rail network, do not have any means to help medical emergencies such as cardiac arrests or to deal with incidents that I came across during this ride.  There is no visible signs indicating where the first-aid kit is located.  Access to AED's are unthinkable. You will be left at the mercy of God and super natural powers.  

3.  Don't expect the TTE's to help, they are helpless too.  How many travelers can send a Twitter message to Indian Railways authorities.  Today I found a link to all the Twitter accounts belonging to Indian Railways and they are extremely confusing.  Can't Indian Railways have a simple handle for the 24x7 emergency?

4.  There is no easy mechanism to find where the TTE is located in the train.  There is no emergency phone (mobile signal is not always available throughout the train routes).  The Indian Railways could SMS the mobile number of the TTE to all passengers just before the departure along with the train departure/arrival details.  This can happen at every station and also when there is a change in the TTE.

5.  The vestibules connecting the trains are extremely dangerous (see video below - courtesy: dennis jacob).  The path ways leading to the toilets have no hand rails to support sick and senior citizens to move around safely.  This must be redesigned considering the safety of all types of passengers.

6.  There are no emergency contact number written in the posters stuck inside the train.  Indian Railways only wishes you a safe journey but do not have any mechanism to make the journey safe. Like 108, the Indian Railways should have an emergency number only for the train travelers.

The seventh one and this is for the travelers.  If your parents are old or have any medical condition please don't allow them to travel without any support system.

Finally, we have a million Gods to pray. As they say, trust on God, but lock your car, let's be always prepared for any avoidable situations.  It should be a constant reminder to Be Safe! Be there to Save! always

p.s On Thursday, after returning back to Bangalore, I called the lady to find the condition of her husband, the man with cancer.  After getting down at Kurnool, they went to a hospital and got him admitted.  His bleeding stopped after 2-3 days of treatment and they had already returned back to Guntakal (their home town).  It was shocking to know that this man was just 45 years and was suffering from tongue cancer because of chewing Gutka for many years.  He was found to have cancer 4 years back and underwent surgery.  The cancer has relapsed now.

I also would like to thank Mr. Janaradhanan, TTE for providing assistance despite the limitations in the system.

Editorial support: Meera Kannan & Aditya Kannan

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What an eventful evening it was

Meera (my wife) and I bought a new cycle, a gift for our daughter turning 9 today and both returning back home from Yelahanka new town. It was around 8.25 pm and I was driving the car.  I noticed someone lying flat on the footpath near the Kendriya Vidya (KV) school on the Doddaballapur road. For a flash of a moment, I thought he was drunk and fallen down but within another wink, I also saw a bike lying next to him. ACCIDENT!! 

It was bit dark and the street light was very dim on that spot.  That stretch of road didn't have anyone other than us. I pulled over the car, asked Meera to follow me and started sprinting towards the victim. I wanted to save him.

When I reached, I saw the man with bloodied face and a huge bump (swelling of a tennis ball size) on his forehead above his left eye. His eyes were partially closed. There was blood all over his face. My mind was rushing for a solution and I wanted to first assess the situation. He was not drunk. There was no bleeding. I started tapping his shoulders by screaming him to wake up. Was he breathing? I checked his chest movements and couldn't find any movement. Oh my God! how can you put this man in this situation? how am I going to handle this? will I be able to save him? what if he was already dead? there were many thoughts running through my head.

At the same time, I shouted for help and asked Meera to call the ambulance. I also dialed 100 on my phone, kept it on the speaker phone in my pocket while I continued to shake him up. I was able to connect to the police control room immediately and spoke to the operator, started describing the accident and the location and called for help.

My mind was constantly telling that this man was not breathing and I should attempt the next step. RESUSCITATION! I have no clue on when he fell down.  He was probably knocked down by a speeding car.  I couldn't assess how long he has been lying down like this. I was thinking that if this man was not breathing then I must make an attempt to give CPR. It was a big decision to make. I was only trained on a dummy once, just last Saturday, and I wasn't sure if I will be able to to perform a CPR on a human who is presumably clinging on to his life. Or probably he is already dead. Or probably his body is preserving energy and he is fast asleep. While my mind was filled with all such thoughts I was continuously tapping his shoulder and shouting to open his eyes. Within 5-6 taps, all of a sudden, I heard a "puff..." sound from the man's mouth. It was the most miraculous experience for me. I found this man was alive and trying to move his eyelids. He was barely able to open and his eyes were covered with blood and dust - possibly from the fall. HE WAS ALIVE AND BREATHING!

I continued to shout for help and within seconds, Meera was able to get through the Ambulance emergency. She too narrated the scene and was screaming for help. By that time, there were few passerby bikers and cars, few curious and few wanted to support, that place was suddenly crowding and I was there, in the center of everything. 

Someone was checking his pockets to look for his identity. There was another found his broken cell phone scattered next to him and he was looking for some numbers to call. There was another man turning on his cell phone torch light to bring some light to that place. Someone was sprinkling water on him. There were suddenly so many helping hands extending at the same moment.

I kept one hand below his head and I was continuously taking to this man, assuring him that he was doing fine and he was going to make it. I also asked him to tell me his name. He opened his eyes and was responding....through the tiny opening in his mouth, he said something. I thought I heard it as "Anand"... With my broken Kannada I was screaming, "Anand, nothing happened to you, it's just a small accident and you will be alright!" There were many others bending down and providing their assurances to Anand. I asked Anand to smile. Anand smiled. It was a magical one.

I received another phone call from the police control room and the lady assured me that the ambulance was already dispatched and would arrive in few minutes. She also said a police too would come there. There were two other gentlemen who rushed there in a bike, must be Anand's friends. Everything was happening so fast.

Within 5-6 minutes I was able to hear the ambulance siren and after a while, the ambulance swiftly pulled next to us. The stretcher was opened, 4 of us lifted Anand and took him inside the ambulance. He was then rushed to the government hospital. There was a moment of joy there - all the men and the only lady who were part of that scene were happy, jubilant and victorious.  Everyone started clapping hands and everything ended as if it was designed to be the most beautiful day.

I went back to my car, gave a big hug to my wife and drove back home. I started weeping and I didn't know why. Meera was a huge support to me. She was my crew and we were heading back home with mixed feelings. There were so many men came to help and everything looked perfect to me.

After reaching home, I called the police control room and requested call me back and inform about the condition of Anand. I narrated this experience with my children and also while I was washing my blood stained shirt, I received another phone call - the lady from the police control room said "Sir, this man is in the hospital and getting treated for head injuries and he is out of danger".  I thanked her for bringing a smile in my face.

I thanked the God for keeping this man alive and also helping his family not to go through a horrific experience. I also thanked God for giving me the courage to rush towards him. I also thanked the God for bringing all of us through the accident spot to be with him when was lying down in the footpath with no one noticing him.

The time is 1.30 am now and I'm still not able to sleep. Anand's injured face is all our my home, in my bed, now appearing in this laptop, I'm not able to take him out of my thinking. I wanted to tell this compelling story to each one of you.

I have learned many things from this experience,

I don't think all of us are capable of saving lives the way a doctor would do or a trained paramedic professional would do. So what could be our role! DON'T IGNORE if you find someone is caught in an accident. STOP AND CHECK - not everyone is drunk and not everyone deserves a fall like that. Even if someone was drunk and met with an accident this person deserves to be saved.  When there is an accident the in the onlookers mind there is a sudden curiosity to see whats going around.  Its typical find many stopping their vehicles and gathering around the victim or simply rubbernecking - the act of 'witnessing' can go on for many hours but remember the victim needs immediate attention.  I've seen the support pours in when the first person decides to LEAD THE CROWD  

There is nothing like "well someone will take care" kind of situation when it comes to responding to an accident scene where no one is else around. RUSH, ASSESS, and possibly provide FIRST AID and if situation demands attempt a CPR or any other method (including TALKING / SHOUTING and through POSITIVE THOUGHTS) to keep him alive. If you are not trained but aware or CALL FOR HELP. There are hundreds of helpful hearts around us. PLEASE DO NOT IGNORE 

While I pitied for Anand, I was angry with him.  He was careless.  He was not wearing his helmet. He could have had a fall, but could have brushed the dust and continued to drive back to his home or to his workplace had he worn his helmet. Nothing that happened would have happened today. There is a family waiting for you BE RESPONSIBLE.

I strongly recommend this point. Get a training on CPR/FIRST AID. There are thousands of lives lost in this country, many are due to lack of first aid, lack of awareness to saving lives, fear of something that you don't know. I find this day beautiful because last Saturday morning I attended and received my certificate fo the First Aid/CPR training at the Nightingales Center for nursing, Kasturi Nagar, Bangalore.  I was so fortunate, so fortunate to be aware of the procedures.  I never ever imagined that I will get a live opportunity to put my training to practice. So, GET TRAINED as soon as possible, it doesn't cost much to get the training. Imagine how powerful each one of us could become. We can respond swiftly to such situations without any hesitation.  ENCOURAGE OTHERS your family members and friends to get trained too.

Finally, many of us have the fear of not knowing what will happen to us if we care for a victim in an accident scene. We have the Good Samaritan law to protect us. After the ambulance left, I found a traffic constable Mr. Nataraj in the scene. He also had to rush to that spot from somewhere after hearing about this accident. He neither asked my name nor interested in knowing where I lived.  I also found that the emergency numbers like 100 worked, number 108 worked yesterday.

I want to FEEL POSITIVE about this experience. I'm very certain I'll sleep peacefully now because I know tomorrow will be another beautiful day. It is my daughters birthday, she is going to smile after seeing her bicycle.  All of us are going to smile.


P.S This incident has created a deep impact in my life and I've already initiated a campaign "Be Safe! and Be there to Save" through Sahaya - learn more about this here...

Friday, April 22, 2016

How the life of little ones are taken for granted

Yesterday, I went to have breakfast in a popular fast food joint located near Bashyam circle, Sadashivanagar, Bangalore. A small boy, neatly dressed, who was about 9-10 years was cleaning the table. At that moment I thought this kid belonged to a customer and was just playing. It took some time for me to realize that he was working there as a janitor. I did not like what I saw.

He was meticulously collecting the left over steel plates, taking at most care picking the Coffee and Tea glasses. Without any formal training on cleanliness, he was cleaning the stainless steel tables as if they belonged to him. The entire fast food joint was buzzing with people and he appeared to be the only one to run around to keep the place spic and span. The men in the kitchen were busy and the cashier (owner?) was found to be unaware that he was actually killing a child’s future.

I was concerned about this and wanted to have a chat with the boy to find out if he was really underage. He shared his name and a beautiful innocent smile with me but he didn't utter anything beyond this. Maybe he was told not to interact with the customers.

I really wanted to do something about this since this boy was probably forced to work there. So, I secretly took some pictures in my camera. I moved away from the restaurant and reached out to some of my friends to share the contact number of any child care helpline. I finally found that there was a toll free helpline number (1098). I wasn’t very sure if someone would attend the call since I never dialed any such numbers in the past.  Under a count of three rings, a lady promptly answered the phone. She politely asked for details and I started narrating the situation and also provided her the details of the hotel and its location.

Within the next 2 hours I received at least 3 phone calls from the child care helpline. The last one was from a child care worker and he took some more details from me including the description of the boy. He was rushing to the hotel to confront the owner and rescue the boy if needed. I was extremely happy that something was happening so fast.

After an hour I received another call from him and he sounded happy. He thanked me for informing him about the boy and also clarified that the boy was a teenager. What he said afterwards was shocking. He said that his team found two more children working there and rescued them too. All of them were found to be brought from distant villages and employed by the hotel owner. Thankfully, the child care team took them to the Sadashiva nagar police station. The police had asked the owner to come there to explain. The owner was warned by the police. He also said that the children’s parents will be called, counselled and be asked to take back the children to their villages. This news brought a big relief in me.

I think what I witnessed was a speck of the dirty world where poor villagers are exploited and innocent kids are subjected to employment in big cities. There is also a possibility that the rich owners' kids are studying in some respectable schools at the expense of such kids education and youth.

I don’t think I’ve done something great; I’m really angry by the fact that such things still exist even today. What I realized is that the least one can do is to report the matter to the authorities (1098 in this case) or even call the police (100) to inform.

At the end, I’m glad that I was able to witness a government and an NGO system which appeared to be working.

My only hope is that these rescued kids, after going back to their home; don’t think about coming back to the city and find a place to continue their education

My only hope is that the parents, due to poverty or their inability to support the child's education, find miraculous ways to support their childs education that they deserve

My only hope is that the owner realizes his mistake and follows ethical practices.

My only hope is that whoever reads this story or witnesses a similar scene realizes that he or she doesn't have any right to take the life of little ones for granted.

I only hope but, certainly this incident has opened my eyes.


Monday, February 15, 2016

Why 'no good' is so good?

I would like to share my real life experience that taught me the importance of excellence!  Here we go! from being no good to becoming so good in just 5 steps.

It was in a meeting room inside a large automotive giant's IT organisation, somewhere in Japan.  I was representing a data migration software development team as an IT manager (also played a technical leadership role) for the first time.  The software was intended to migrate large volume of data between two enterprise systems.  I was about to present the software performance characteristics report for the first time and was already nervous under the quiet air conditioner in the land of the rising sun.  The IT manager from the customer responsible for the project, few of my team members (all English speaking), a very experienced Japanese-English interpreter and myself were present in the room.

I'm neither poor nor that entitled

The insightful report that I read today on how students background affects the performance made me think about my own life. "Wealthy...