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  Life   More Features  30 Mar 2018  City woman turns samaritan

City woman turns samaritan

THE ASIAN AGE. | SAURABH M JOSHI
Published : Mar 30, 2018, 1:18 am IST
Updated : Mar 30, 2018, 1:18 am IST

Rekha has served the Indian Railways for 22 long years and is currently attached with the electrical department’s lighting division.

Rekha Ganesh Shinde being felicitated by the railway ministry in the presence of railway minister Piyush Goyal
 Rekha Ganesh Shinde being felicitated by the railway ministry in the presence of railway minister Piyush Goyal

It was just another working day for Rekha Ganesh Shinde, when she spotted something unusual — an unattended bag perched atop the luggage rack in an empty train. Unlike most people, whose knee-jerk reaction would be to look the other way, Rekha let the better part of her curiosity take over and decided to look into the matter. 

“I was on my way to work and walking down platform number 7 at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus station when I saw the bag. Since the coach was empty, I found it strange that there was an abandoned bag there. When I opened it, I was stumped to find what I did! The bag contained a laptop and a pouch with some jewellery,” she recalls. 

The bag contained a laptop, four gold bangles worth Rs 1.5 lakh, two gold brackets worth Rs 90,000, Rs 2.10 lakh worth two necklaces and two gold chains worth Rs 1.2 lakh. Thankfully, says Rekha, the bag also had an identity card with a name and contact details of a certain Surabhi Gawade. 

As it turns out, Surabhi, who had boarded the train from Thane and alighted at Byculla and would then travel to her workplace in Mahalaxmi by road, had accidentally left the bag behind.

When asked if she wasn’t tempted to not report the incident, Rekha said, “By the grace of God, my husband and I earn enough to live a decent life. A thought like this did not even cross my mind!” she says. 

Rekha has served the Indian Railways for 22 long years and is currently attached with the electrical department’s lighting division. She is also the vice chairman of National Railway Mazdoor Union (NRMU).

Rekha returning the bag full of valuables to the rightful ownerRekha returning the bag full of valuables to the rightful owner

While Rekha took possession of the bag, she wondered what her next step would be. After weighing her options for a while, she took it upon herself to return the bag full of valuables herself. “I decided not to inform the authorities at all. In the past, some close relatives of mine were stuck in a similar situation, but they were never returned their valuables at all,” she rues. 

Since she is well aware of the trouble such situations bring with them, Rekha wanted to return the bag to Surabhi herself — without causing the latter to go through the hassle. “And there was no need to get the authorities involved in any case — contact details were available on the ID card. Since it was a weekend, I couldn’t get in touch with Surabhi. On Monday, I succeeded in connecting with her on her office landline and passed on the information about her bag,” added Rekha.  

Surabhi then informed Rekha that she had lodged a complaint with the CSMT railway police. And so, they decided to meet at the police station to bring the episode to its logical conclusion. The cops verified the ownership and handed over the ornaments to Gawade.

“I felt nice to have returned the bag to its rightful owner. Surabhi was filled with gratitude; she sought my blessings twice,” smiles Rekha. 

Recognising her special act, the railway ministry felicitated Rekha for her honesty. She was called upon to meet railway minister Piyush Goyal, who appreciated her act and felicitated her.

Tags: indian railways, piyush goyal, gawade