Can This Happen to Us?

This happened to our friend P. He works as a Sales Manager and has nearly 20 years of work experience and is mature, sensible and street smart too. Few days ago, he was travelling back home by train after an official trip to another city.

After a peaceful sleep in the AC 3 tier compartment, he woke up in the morning to find a couple with 2 kids around him, among other passengers. He was to reach home by 2.30 pm and he communicated the same to his wife via whatsapp messaging. His wife tried calling his phone later in the afternoon, but it was giving switched off messages all the time. She reasoned that his phone battery must have drained out. The clock started showing 3 pm and then 4 and then 5 pm and her emotions were oscillating between panic and forced calm. She reasoned that the train must have been late or he went to office first, etc . But then her husband always made it a point to inform her if he was late. But that day’s situation was so unusual and she just didn’t know what to do, till she got a call from an unknown number at 6 pm.

The caller was the train attendant and was calling from the train yard where he had found her husband unconscious. Shocked and numbed, she immediately rushed to the other end of the city. Scary thoughts clouded her mind. One thought which was topmost on her mind was what if this guy had some malicious intent. She called up a friend to keep her posted about her situation and whereabouts. She practiced caution and called the train attendant at the booking window and then requested him to bring her husband to the station platform. The attendant agreed and brought P with the help of 2 more people to the place where she was waiting.

She found her husband still partially unconscious. With the help of these 3 men, she was able to take him till the cab. After reaching home, she called the doctor who stayed in their building. Apart from a high blood pressure, everything else seemed normal. After a few medicines, food and water, he felt ok but kept lapsing into frequent black outs and this lasted for 48 hours after reaching home.

During his conscious state, he narrated that he was sitting with this family and they were generally chatting. The wife kept offering things to eat to her kids and those around in the compartment, like almonds soaked in water, biscuits etc. Everybody around in the compartment as expected declined the snacks which she was offering. When the train was nearing the last stop, the wife offered our friend P,  a Cadbury Éclairs. P refused saying that he doesn’t eat chocolates, but she was pretty persistent despite P declining the offer repeatedly. So, finally he took that Éclairs and 30 seconds later, he lost all consciousness.

When the train reached the yard, after de-boarding all the passengers at the last station, the train attendant saw him lying unconscious in the compartment. He attempted to wake P up by shaking and talking loudly to him. He responded and told him his wife’s mobile number.

When P’s wife found him, he was in a bad shape, he had no control over his body at all. All his belongings which included his gold ring, watch, mobile, official laptop, strolley suitcase containing clothes, toiletries and a fat wallet which contained his debit/credit cards, cash, bills were missing! The incident has left our friends terribly shaken. And it has deeply disturbed us too.

This incident makes me wonder about a few things….

Such things happen still? Till this incident I believed that such things only happened in books or to other people but never to somebody known to us.

Even a small chocolate/toffee can be dangerous. While we may never eat anything that is home cooked or is given in the name of God’s prasad by anybody, but who would imagine that a branded small chocolate/toffee could be laced with drugs and could rob you of everything.

The con artists committed this crime in front of their kids. I am sure the kids saw and observed and understood what the parents did. What kind of upbringing and learnings are they giving to their children?

In this tech age we rarely remember phone numbers. It is so important to know a few numbers. I shudder to think that I remember only KG’s and my sister’s number from some 150 plus contacts in my phone.

It is so sad that such incidents shake up your trust in mankind. I guess, we would exercise caution everywhere but then there are good men like the train attendant too, who went above and beyond his call of duty.

Guess, caution is the word. Hope we learn from this experience and never accept anything to eat from anybody, ever!!

This trial of our trust… will this make us trust people around us? Can this happen to us, can this happen to you?