Subash Majumdar, 66, from Assam was speechless with emotion when he met his son Dulal, 31, at AIIMS Bhubaneswar on Saturday.
Tears rolled down the cheeks of father and son, being treated for brain injury, as they came face to face for the first time since Dulal went missing after the June 2 train disaster in Balasore.
Dulal, who works on a construction site in Kerala, was home-bound on the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express that was involved in the triple train crash with the Coromandel Express and a goods train.
Subash knew he was among the lucky -- many fathers looking for their missing sons after the crash had returned empty-handed after crisscrossing Odisha.
“I’m thankful to God for giving me my son back. No one ate at our home for the last seven days,” the agricultural labourer from Uttar Bar Bil village in Karbi Anglong district said.
Odisha police’s move of sending the details of the identified victims to their counterparts in other states helped script this happy ending, which comes amid a slew of depressing stories arising out of the train crash.
“Four days after the accident, on June 6, we came to know about Dulal’s condition and whereabouts from our local police station (in Assam). They coordinated with the railways and we arrived here today,” Subash, who had come with nephew Samiran, said.
Dulal had been rescued from under thick bushes almost 48 hours after the accident. He was admitted to a Balasore hospital but, as his condition deteriorated, he was sent to AIIMS Bhubaneswar, arriving there at 3.30am on June 5.
Subash caressed his son’s head while Dulal continued to press his hand. Doctors and hospital staff advised them to try and keep their emotions under control.
“I shall take him with me to Assam once he recovers and can travel. I will be here with him till he recovers fully,” the father said.
In a media release on Saturday, the AIIMS said that Dulal had “traumatic brain injury with frontal contusion (bruising of brain tissue) and subdural haematoma (a collection of blood)” and that “he was initially conscious but confused”.
He underwent surgery to reduce the pressure on the brain and drain out the haematoma, and was later taken off the ventilator, the AIIMS said.
“The patient is now stable and shifted to the ward and is able to speak and now recognise his father who has reunited with him today,” the institute said.
“All treatment was free of cost and the patient is responding well to treatment. It’s really an emotional moment.”
Dr Chinmay Dash, a doctor at the AIIMS, said Dulal “would have to stay here for a few more days”.
Samiran, who arrived in Bhubaneswar with Subash on Saturday morning by train, said: “Since the day of the accident, our house has been plunged in gloom. Dulal is the financial backbone of the family. His two brothers too work as labourers and are settled with their families in Kerala and Bangalore.”