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Saviour recounts hall-of-fame moments

- Alipurduar’s Shyama felicitated for saving boy and father from drowning in river

Alipurduar, Sept. 9: Shyama Roy, the 39-year-old woman from Alipurduar who had saved a father-son duo from drowning, was felicitated at the The Telegraph School Awards for Excellence in Calcutta yesterday.

Her heroic act of jumping into the Kaljani, using her sari as a rope to save little Arkabarna Sarkar and his father Debobrata was saluted at the event.

Shyama was also called on stage to give away certificates to six children at the event at the Science City auditorium.

When Metro called her up this morning, Shyama spoke about her experience at the awards.

“I entered the auditorium with my husband and our younger daughter Amrita around 9.30am. We sat in the third row from the front. The programme started at 10am sharp. Most of the anchors were speaking in English, so I understood little. Few of them also spoke in Bengali,” she said.

About 11.45am, Barry O’Brien (the convenor of the annual awards) narrated Shyama’s rescue act and “invited me to the dais. I was felicitated by Biswanath Dasgupta (the creative director of TTIS),” she said.

Shyama was given a certificate and an uttariya.

“I was speechless as I stood with so many VIPs on such a big stage. The dignitaries asked me to hand over certificates to three boys and three girls. When the organisers spoke about how I had rescued a boy and his father from drowning, my picture was also shown on screen,” Shyama said.

This was the mother of two’s first trip to Calcutta.

“The reception and the accommodation the organisers arranged for us were beyond my imagination. One person was always with us to take care of us from the day (Friday) we reached Calcutta. After the programme, we again returned to our guest house and had lunch.”

Shyama said she would visit Belur Math and Dakshineswar before returning to Alipurduar.

A resident of Dwip Char in Alipurduar town, Shyama had rescued Arkabarna and his father Debobrata Sarkar, on August 12. She was doing her household chores when she spotted a boy bobbing in the river.

Shyama jumped into the water and got hold of the boy. She took off her sari and tied it around the neck of Debobrata who she thought had lost consciousness.

Shyama’s brother also jumped into the river and they together pulled the father-son to the bank.

Yesterday, with Shyama’s family at Science City were Debobrata, his wife and Arkabarna.

“The programme I saw yesterday was absolutely fabulous and unforgettable. Students from across astern India were present,” Debobrata said.

After hearing the accounts of children who had struggled against grave odds to study, Debobrata said he now wanted to extend financial help to five children in distress in and around Alipurduar every year.

“Tears came to my eyes when I heard their stories. I have decided to help five needy children in and around Alipurduar every year. The picture of my son was also shown on the screen and we are really honoured. I feel really proud that I have witnessed such a big event. I have told my son that he could also attain goals if those children could surmount so many hurdles in their lives,” Debobrata said.

Four days after Shyama rescued Arkabarna and Debobrata, the boy’s school felicitated her.

Little Flower English School said it would finance her younger daughter Amrita’s education till Class XII.