As remembered bv G. Rajan, former PS to Secetary,NDDB
“Rajan, could you please come over to my house quickly”
Dr. RP Aneja (Secretary, NDDB ) was on the intercom.
It was on an early Sunday morning. It had rained the previous night. Dr.Aneja seemed concerned about something. I anticipated that there was something serious. From my D-3, NDDB Quarters, I rushed to Dr.Aneja`s house at A-1,…. ..hardly 500 fts..
Dr.Aneja was standing outside his bungalow, waiting for me.
Rajan: Dr. Chothani has met with an accident. Dr. Aneja murmured. It seems he fell down from the Gujarat Mail early this morning at Sanjan, near Surat. He was returning from Bombay alongwith daughter Amina and her child.
You have to rush to Anand railway station and sit with the Station Superintendent and keep on passing messages that you will get from Mr. Saigal,Diviional Railway Manager, Baroda , who is a friend of mine. You please continue to be at the railway station, till I ask you to return .
I reached Anand railway station on my scooter, after parking the scooter, went straight to Platofrm No.1 , where the office of the Station Superintendent (one Mr.Vaishnav) and his wireless equipment is located. After introduction I settled down. The wireless set started giving broken and noisy messages…that ~ Dr.Chothani is admitted at the Sanjan Railway Hospital (Western Railway)with the external wounds cleaned and bandaged and his family members from Anand should reach him at the hospital at Sanjan.
I was in constant touch with Baroda railway station and Dr.Aneja.
Dr. Aneja in the meanwhile had made arrangements to transport Mrs.Chothani from Anand to Sanjan in an official car. I think Shri PV Mathew accompanied her from Anand.
After initial treatments at the Sanjan Railway hospital Dr.Chothani was shifted to the Aghakhan Hospital in Bombay.
He had suffered multiple fractures as the fall was from a moving train. The speed of the Gujarat Mail at the time of the accident could have been nearly 100 KM per hour. Luckily for Dr.Chothani, he had fallen on a pool of muddy water….and he was wearing a thick Safari suit, otherwise the damages would have been very severe.
He was also lucky that a track runner noticed him in time. As soon as this man reached the spot, Dr.Chothani gave his visiting card. The runner then managed to stop a passenger train going towards Bombay and helped Dr.Chothani who was badly injured, loaded in to a compartment. The Station Master at Sanjan railway ..station reported the accident, as per the procedure, to the Divisional Railway Manager, Baroda who luckily was Dr.Anejas friend Mr.Saigal.
For Dr.Chothani, things started moving in a jet-set speed…..
Dr.Aneja has been keeping Dr.Kurien informed of the status from time to time.
Meanwhile Shri Collin D’Lima from NDDB Mumbai office was assigned specifically to help and support Dr.Chothani till the time he was discharged from the Aghakhan hospital. Collin very effectively handled all issues and coordinated with the hospital, and NDDB Bombay and Anand, sending out hourly messages on the dedicated hot line, tele printer , directly to the Secretary`s office.
Next morning (Monday) the entire NDDB campus was agog with the news of the accident.
As soon as he arrived from a tour, that Monday morning. Dr.Kurien rushed into Dr.Anejas office and I could hear as he was loudly enquiring about as to what was Dr.Chothanis health conditions . Dr.Aneja mentioned that there was a teleprinter message from NDDB Bombay office (Collin Dilima) to say that Dr.Chothani was conscious and that all the fractures have been plastered and all parameters are satisfactory..He further added that the teleprinter message was passed on to chairman`s office.
By then I had already handed over the teleprinter message in question, to Shri Arvind Gupta, then Executive Assistant to Chairman. which Dr.Aneja had marked to the Chairman.
Dr.Kurien was furious as to why he was not shown the teleprinter message till then. He was upset with Arvind Gupta and expressed his displeasure at the top of his voice, which almost brought the roof down!!
He roared ~~ Don’t you know how concerned I am for Dr.Chothani. He then angrily asked me that henceforth I should rush all such messages concerning Dr.Chothani to him (Dr.Kurien) directly . I nodded my frozen head ….yes sir!!
To the best of my memory, Dr.Chothani continued his stay at the Aga Khan hospital and returned to Anand only after a couple of months or so, that too with a heavily plastered body!! Since he had gone to Bombay on official duty, he was allowed to take leave with full pay so long as he wishes to, i.e. till he resumed his office.
Since he started getting a stream of his colleagues and friends at his quarters, a circular was issued by the Administration, at the behest of the Chairman, that nobody should disturb Dr.Chothani .