Braveheart saves lives, left unnoticed

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Jeevan Chinappa

Chandra helped save survivors of a lightning attack from further trauma

Madikeri: Flashes of lightning across the horizon bring back nightmarish memories to 25-year-old Chandra, a member of a tribal group that works in a plantation at M. Badaga, near Murnad town, 20 km from here. He still relives the horrific moment that occurred 10 days ago, owing to a perfidious nature that wreaked havoc on the lives of six unsuspecting tribal people — four women and two children — all of whom had disappeared in a moment’s time when lightning struck.

Chandra’s brother Ramesh had gone from their home across the paddy field where his wife Rekha was part of a team working at the paddy harvest yard. Ramesh had gone to call everyone back home since it had started raining.

A severe bout of thunder had almost made Ramesh deaf, when he was walking back with Rekha, while the others took shelter under a tree where they were working, Chandra said. Two more streaks of lightning struck and thunder was also heard before they reached their home, unknowing of the fact that the six had lost their lives.

An old woman, who had survived the lightning attack, had walked half the distance from the place of the incident to inform Chandra about the disaster. “I rushed to the spot only to find six bodies and three children, who had survived the attack,” he said.

He recalled the name of Ganesh and a six-month old girl, Prakruthi, when he was with Deputy Commissioner M.K. Baladevakrishna at his office, but however, could not remember the name of the other child.

They were recoiled in a state of shock, unable to fathom what had happened. The entire paddy harvest yard was wet, Chandra said. “I lit a fire and warmed up the three children one by one, giving them a good massage. This helped as they began responding. I helped them reach home but found the old lady who had informed me of the incident earlier, lying fallen on the way. After leaving the children home, I had to carry the elderly lady home, as she had a burnt leg. I made her drink warm water after which all of them were hospitalised in Murnad,” he said.

Everyone swung into action after the incident, including Mr. Baladevakrishna, who promised help to the relatives of the victims. But the timely action of Chandra had almost been forgotten.

“He should be rewarded suitably by the district administration,” said K.T. Baby Mathew, president of the Kodagu Christian Welfare Association. Of the three rescued children, two had gone back to Ranigate near Kushalnagar, where they came from, and one as well as the elderly lady were at a private plantation near Sunticoppa, he said. “The very presence of lightning now sends the shivers down my spine,” says Chandra who is currently attending to Raju, his ailing father at the district hospital here.




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