Last fortnight, a Central Railway Pointsman Mayur Shelke sprinted into national headlines after he out-raced an oncoming train, Udayan Express and saved the life of a 6-year old kid from certain death on the railway tracks at Vangani station in Thane district.
Shelke had risked his life to save little Sahil who accidentally fell from the platform onto the railway tracks, right on the path of the speeding train.
Sahil's mother Sangita Shirsath, 32, with tears of gratitude welling up her sightless eyes, blessed Shelke for giving new life to her little son and her pillar of support. Her plight moved a Mumbai diamantaire Dharmesh Jhaveri and he decided to do something so Shirsath, hailing from Nanded, could regain her eyesight.
"I was not born blind. At the age of 2, owing to some eye disease, I lost my vision permanently. My father had shown me to an opthalmist in Nanded, but he said nothing could be done," Shirsath told IANS.
Abandoned by her blind, Akola-based husband Arjun five year ago, Shirsath, who is HSC pass from institutions for the blind in Nanded and Nashik, supports self and Sahil by hawking odd-wares in suburban or passenger trains that halt at Vangani station.
"I earned barely around Rs.10,000 per month, but during the lockdown, most days I can hardly manage a proper meal for both of us. My only brother is a farmer in Nanded and I can't expect help from my aged mother after my father expired three years ago," said Shirsath.
Apart from paying rent of Rs 3,000 per month for her tiny room, she has admitted Sahil in Bal Vikas Mandir School in Badlapur a semi-private school.
"He is a bright child and was in Sr.KG, but after lockdown his education is disrupted. Now, he's my guardian angel in my blindness, my window to the world," Shirsath said with pride.
"Shirsath deserves help. a top eye-surgeon Dr. Hemendra Shah in Mumbai will examine her soon. Even Bhiwandi-based Samast Jain Mahasangh Convenor Ashok Jain has promised to try for the best possible treatment for her," Jhaveri told IANS.
"Shelke Saheb was very kind to give me half his prize money (Rs.25,000) for Sahil's education. I deposited it in my SBI Account in Badlapur Branch. A couple of journalists gave me Rs 4,000 and clothes for us. But we have a long way to go," Shirsath trailed off.