It was a usual Monday for 57-year-old Gulabchand Goad. He used to take a stroll around the Gateway of India from 7 am, looking for tourists who would want to take back an instant photograph posing at the iconic spot, overlooking the Arabian Sea and Hotel Taj Palace.
Living in the city for several years and following the same routine day in and day out, little did Goad know that he would end up saving a woman by diving into the sea.
At around 7.30am on Monday, 30-year-old Pallavi Munde had visited the Gateway of India. She was sitting on the promenade’s wall when she fell giddy and fell into the sea.
“I saw the woman sitting alone on the wall. I hardly passed by her when I heard people shouting for help,” said Gaod. The woman had fallen into the sea. A police van came to the spot immediately, and threw a lifebuoy towards her. But because the sea was rough, she was not able to hold on to the buoy and was drifting away from the wall, said Goad. When nobody seemed to be jumping into the sea, Goad realised that the time was ticking and the woman could drown any minute.
He handed his camera to a fellow cameraman and jumped into the sea.
“I put the lifebuoy on her so that she would not drift away. Later, with the help of cops, we managed to take her to the staircase, leading to the road. From there she was rushed to a hospital,” said Goad, who has been badly hit by the pandemic.
“I used to earn around Rs 500 daily before the lockdown. Since then, life has been difficult. We manage to survive with grocery supplied by the government and NGOs,” said Goad, who lives in a slum rehabilitation authority building at Nariman Point with his wife and two sons, who works as driver and labourer, respectively.