Mumbai: It was a usual Monday for 57-year-old Gulabchand Goad, where he would stroll around the Gateway of India from 7 am looking for potential tourists who would want to take back instant photographs from the iconic spot overlooking the Arabian Sea which also houses the Hotel Taj Palace & Towers.
Goad, a native of Mau district in Uttar Pradesh who came to Mumbai at a young age around 40-45 years ago, was following the routine since the last 15 years after he shut a roadside stall he operated at the Gateway of India. Little did he know that he would ever jump into the sea to save a life of a 30-year-old Pallavi Munde who felt giddy and fell from the promenade’s sea wall at Gateway of India.
“It was around 7.30 am, when I saw a woman sitting alone on the promenade’s sea wall. I passed by her but I did not ask her, if she would want a photograph. I had gone just a little ahead when I heard people shouting for help,” said Gaod, who looked back and saw that the woman had fallen into the sea.
A police van came to the spot almost immediately, and the policemen 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. But when nobody seemed to be jumping into the sea, Goad realised that time was ticking and the woman could drown at any point. He handed over his camera to fellow cameramen at the spot and jumped into the sea.
"I put the lifebuoy on her so that she would not drift away. Later with the help of cops holding the rope from above we managed to take her to the staircase leading to the road. From there she was taken to the hospital for a medical check-up," said Goad, who has been badly hit by the pandemic.
“I used to earn around Rs 500 daily before the lockdown last year. Since then, life has been difficult. We managed to survive with the grocery supplied by the government and some NGO’s,” said Goad, who stays in a Slum Rehabilitation Authority building at Nariman Point with wife and two sons who works as driver and labourer.