"I usually take a stroll for around 2 km. I was walking near the tracks around 6.45 am when I happened to see the crack. Soon a train passed by."
53-year-old Krishna Poojary works at a roadside eatery in Udupi’s Korangrapady village. A few months ago, he was diagnosed with an ailment in his leg which led to a loss of strength in that leg. As a result, Krishna was on regular medication and treatment.
However, the treatment did not work well, and he soon had to give up on medication due to his poor financial conditions. His doctor had thus advised him to go on daily walks to regain strength in his leg.
Early Saturday morning, Krishna was on his walk when he spotted a crack on the railway track. Speaking to The Times of India, he said, “I usually take a stroll for around 2 km. I was walking near the tracks around 6.45 am when I happened to see the crack.”
“Soon a train passed by. I could only think of rushing to the officials.”
This train had widened the crack and thus posed a risk to the next train that passed. The Udupi resident did not want to risk the lives of thousands of passengers and decided to approach railway officials before another train passed the track.
Speaking to Shashanka Shivathaya, a citizen journalist who approached him on behalf of The Better India, Poojary recalled a gruesome incident that he had witnessed 40 years ago. As a young boy, he would often visit a railway station near his home, to look at the trains passing by.
One day, he was at the station when a young man attempted to jump out of a speeding train on to the station. Unfortunately, his bag got caught in the train, and he fell between the train and the track.
“When I saw the crack on the track, this incident came back to me. I prayed to God to give me strength and started running so I could inform an official about this.”
I know that one train crosses this road about 7 am every day and shortly after, another train passes in the opposite direction,” said Poojary.
With a weak leg, Krishna ran to officials for about 3 km from the crack. His pain wasn’t as important as the lives of thousands of strangers and a train that could have overturned due to the faulty track.
As soon as the officials were informed, they ordered two trains to halt, each at Indrali Railway Station (7 km from the crack) and Padubidri Station (16 km away).
Once this was done, Krishna led the officials to the spot, helping them fix it. Only after the railway track was secure, were the trains allowed to pass.
If not for the brave Udupi resident who did not mind his own pain and ran a long distance, perhaps another train mishap would have made news today. Instead, thousands of passengers are indebted to Krishna Poojary for life.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)