From Snatch to Salvation: A Twist of Fate

“If I walk a little faster, I think I should be able to reach the Pharmacy within 10 minutes”, thought Ramasubbu and increased his pace a bit. His knees protested, and he decided to ignore the pleading creak of his painful knees.

“Let me check with the Insurance company lady once again. Maybe after that, I can fix the appointment with the doctor for my knee replacement surgery”,…mused the 70-year-old active senior citizen as he briskly increased his pace to walk to the Pharmacy to buy the cough syrup for his grandson. “I wish this syrup helps Manu. He has been coughing all of last night. Will surely help him sleep better tonight..” His phone kept in his shirt pocket tinkled loudly reverberating in the lonely, badly lit road. It was Kamala informing him that Asha had reached home from office.

“Almost there Kamala. Will be back with the cough syrup within 15 minutes. Now that Asha is here, why don’t you take rest..”

Ramasubbu never heard Kamala’s reply as at that instant a speeding Motorbike driven by a man in a helmet brushed close to him and snatched his mobile phone from his hand. Ramasubbu nearly fell down but managed to steady himself, while he shouted…”Hey hey…!”

The man on the motorbike sped past, turned back and looked at him, but failed to notice the speedbreaker, crashed into it at full speed, lost balance fell on the road and in the impact rolled over thrice and lay motionless on the roadside while the motorbike was thrown a few meters away in the impact of the fall.

Ramasubbu was shell shocked. Still reeling from the sudden theft, his first instinct was to rush to the motionless man’s side. He seemed badly hurt. There was a lot of blood. He seemed young, no more than 21 or 22 years old. His face was badly bruised. There was a deep gash on his forehead.

“Hey…Are you ok? What is your name?” asked Ramasubbu.

The young man uttered a few incoherent words.

Ramasubbu reached into a bag which was fastened to the young man’s hip and found his stolen phone. He dialed Emergency. The police arrived and after listening to Ramasubbu’s narration called the ambulance.

While he waited for an ambulance to arrive, Ramasubbu held the young man’s hand and tried to stop the blood oozing out of his forehead and jaw. He was careful not to move him lest he had broken bones. Then he started praying. Praying for this young man to survive. Soon passersby arrived on the scene, and some tried to revive the young man by splashing water on his face. But by now he had lost all consciousness.

Thankfully the siren of an approaching ambulance brought hope to Ramasubbu. He had been chanting the Hanuman Chalisa all this while. The young man was deftly carried and placed in the ambulance and while it sped away, Ramasubbu remembered that he hadn’t yet bought Manu’s cough syrup.

On reaching home, Kamala opened the door with a worried look, “What took you so long? Did you see a friend and lose track of time?”

Ramasubbu just smiled and asked whether dinner was ready, handing over the cough syrup.

It was only an hour later when the police arrived asking more details about the theft and accident from Ramasubbu, that the family knew what happened.

“Sir, how did you think of helping the very person who snatched your phone? Usually none would do it..” asked the policeman.

Ramasubbu replied, “The young man was severely injured and could barely speak. Anyone would have done what I did…Call Emergency”

At Chakra Hospital nearby, Sandeep, the thief, having regained consciousness, lay in bed pondering over the event. He vividly remembered snatching the old man’s phone. He remembered falling down. But after he fell down, he had a hazy vision of his dead father holding his hand and wiping the blood flowing down his forehead.

Tears flowed down. His heart was filled with remorse. He reached out into his bag, took all the 5 phones he had stolen that week, beckoned to the constable standing outside and handed them over to him.

Adapted from a true story which happened a few days ago in Gurgaon on 17th Jan 2024. 



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