Nemai Manna, 35, didn't sleep in the past two days and other than a little tea and a few biscuits, nothing did go down his throat in 48 hours.
His are tired eyes and a desperate soul, looking for his younger brother Samir Manna, 32, who is nowhere to be found.
They last met in the pantry car of the Coromandel Express — where they are both employed — minutes before the accident on Friday night. For the past two years, their job was to sell food items from the pantry car to the passengers, travelling between Shalimar and Chennai regularly.
On Friday evening when Nemai asked Samir to approach the passengers of the general coaches, while he himself went to the air-conditioned compartments, little did he expect that it might be the last time they were seeing each other.
“We got an eight per cent commission on each food item we sold. This is why we would divide the coaches between ourselves so that we could sell as many products as possible. On Friday, we met inside a sleeper coach and I sent him to the general coaches. Then, I went to the back towards the AC coaches. This was barely five minutes before the accident,” Nemai told this newspaper from Balasore.
While the accident mangled the compartments at the front of the Coromandel Express, those on the rear side were less affected. The collision left Nemai senseless for a few hours, but largely unharmed.
When he regained consciousness, rescuers tried to send him to the hospital. But Nemai refused. Since then, he has been looking for Samir all over.
“I tried calling Samir countless times, but his phone went unanswered. Since he was not a passenger, it is difficult to identify which compartment he was in. Every time someone was extricated from the debris of the train, I ran towards him to check if that was my brother,” Nemai said.
This is how Nemai spent all of Friday night. Their youngest brother Gopal has reached the site with some friends. Although Gopal tried to convince Nemai to go home, he refused to leave.
Gopal took Nemai to multiple hospitals on Sunday to check if Samir could be found anywhere. They have travelled from Balasore to Bhubaneswar, and even to Cuttack, going from one hospital to another, looking for Samir. But their search has been in vain so far.
Police have asked them to search the mortuaries on Monday.
Samir has a wife and a five-year-old daughter back home. Ruma, his wife, said that he had earlier worked for a catering service in Mumbai.