Saving Lives on the Road
Meet our Good Samaritan - Nilesh Desai
He may not fit the definition of a daredevil, but his actions are nothing less than heroic. Blessed with a gift of selflessness, our colleague from the Wada factory, Nilesh Desai seems to have dedicated his life to save the lives of road accident victims. And, he renders his services with an awe-inspiring regularity.
Moment of reckoning
It was a balmy May afternoon of 2009. Nilesh Desai was on his way back home from his college. Chatting with his friends he seemed oblivious to the world around him. No sooner had he approached the National Highway to catch a bus than he glimpsed a man peering over the fence and then jumping on to the road. Within the blink of an eye, the man was run over by a fast-moving truck. Nilesh scrambled to the spot. The person was lying in a pool of blood. For the next 30 harrowing minutes, he kept urging people to take the person to the hospital. No one came forward and the man died on the spot. Worse, the crash victim turned out to be the husband of one of his classmates.
The incident had shattered Nilesh. What pained him the most was the indifferent attitude of people towards road accident victims. He recalls the moment with a lump in his throat, “We should remember that the road accident victims may not mean anything to us, but they mean the world to their families.”
Launching a crusade
Gradually Nilesh reconciled to the reality and tried to pick up the pieces of his life. He completed M.Sc. in Biotech from Karad University and entered the corporate world. But his calling lay elsewhere. He launched a crusade to change the mindset of people towards road accidents profaned by self-indulgence and carelessness. He started organising Blood Donation camps for road accidents with a view to spreading the gospel of love for humanity and value for life. His rationale, “There is only one religion for me – the religion of humanity.” Sure enough, Nilesh has today become a regular voluntary blood donor. His wife who has joined him in this movement, is also a regular blood donor.
Nilesh continues to create awareness around road accidents. And, he leads by example. Even today, he just can’t remain a bystander seeing a crash victim lying on the road. He says, “Sometimes, our small effort of providing either a first-aid or just calling an ambulance can be the difference between someone’s life and death.” There are innumerable times indeed where his interventions have saved the lives of road accident victims.
Nilesh who has been associated with HCCB since 2012 as Quality Assurance Executive, sincerely believes in kindness and for him, it also manifests manifold at his workplace at HCCB’s factory at Wada. He recalls an incident when he and some colleagues witnessed a late-night road accident in one of the annual group learning trips and how they spent hours attending to the accident victim with great ordeal.
Understandably, Nilesh beams with pride when he thinks about the number of lives he has saved. He has also been striving to improve road safety and emergency medical care across India. “We all need a deeper understanding of how exactly to help accident victims, especially in the crucial first hour of the accident. One should never be afraid to help accident victims. Thankfully, the law is also on our side now” explains Nilesh.
Referring to his acts of rescuing road victims as his duty to humanity, Nilesh says quite emphatically, “I never lose hope as long as there’s a sign of life in a person.” He urges everyone to do the same even if the odds of survival seem a hundred to one. Sometimes miracles do happen. To reinforce his point, he recalls an incident in which a person had fallen off a moving jeep and he was lying unconscious on the roadside. His rib bones had come off and he looked certain to die. Nilesh describes, “I noticed him on my way to a temple. To my utter surprise he was still breathing. Wasting no time, I with the help of villagers carried him to the hospital on my bike. His condition was serious. We immediately arranged blood for him. And, then a watershed moment came when the doctors said he was out of danger.”
Appreciating his yeoman service to the society, some of the Blood Banks in his locality honour his request for any help anytime. Nilesh recalls an incident with a sense of pride, “Once I received a desperate call around midnight from a person in my neighborhood. His wife urgently needed platelets. I called up the Blood Bank and they immediately provided the platelets.”
Driven by purpose
His service to society is, however, not limited to saving road accident victims. Nilesh keeps engaging with people in his community for all kinds of social work. In 2019, when Kolhapur was in the grip of worst-ever flood in recent times, Nilesh led the flood relief operations in his locality and managed to dispatch one truck of material comprising food and clothes for the flood-hit victims. He is also involved in several other charitable works, at times working with orphanages and at other times organizing free eye camps for the poor. And, in case of any emergency, Nilesh is often the go-to person for everyone in his locality.
So, how does his family respond to his involvement in so many different kinds of social work?
“They are definitely supportive and proud of my work, but they do feel that I am not giving sufficient time to them”, says Nilesh. He continues, “As it is our lives are over booked and over scheduled with official work and daily commute taking bulk of our working hours. But I love stretching myself beyond limit to fulfil my social commitments. I have just one ambition – to live my life for others. There’s nothing else that’s more rewarding and fulfilling. The purpose of life is not just to earn money.”
No doubt, Nilesh belongs to a special class of people who are driven to serve the society with humility. May his tribe increase.