'I urge you never to try this stupid stunt like I did'

22-yr-old sustains 40 per cent burns after a 25,000-volt shock peeled his limbs and chest to the overhead wires while he was travelling on a local's roof; regrets his 'stupid' mischief

In the face of red-hot pain emanating from scalding wounds, the 22-year-old is thinking of other things, namely, those dependent on him for their survival.

Jolted back to senses: Rahul Gaund says he repents getting atop the
train and requests  everyone to refrain from such stunts

It is nothing short of extraordinary that Rahul Vithal Gaund survived the 25,000-volt shock that engulfed his body while he was travelling on the roof of a local train on Wednesday night around 10.15 pm. The train was between Vithalwadi and Badlapur stations when his limbs got tangled with the overhead cables, frying his muscles. MiD DAY speaks with the youngster as he recuperates at Sion hospital from his - in his own words - foolish stunt.

In the hospital bed, as he endures the agony of the 40 per cent burns he sustained, Gaund's mind is occupied with two thoughts, other than overriding remorse: the knowledge that he made it despite the slim odds of survival for anyone jolted with such a powerful current of electricity, and the haunting anxiety of what would have become of his family if he had not. He comes from an impoverished family of which he is the sole breadwinner. 

As he puts his apprehensions into words, speaking of how he hoped to spring back to life soon so he could resume work, he simply stares at his wounds.

"The train was packed when I boarded it. So I decided to climb on the top. It was my first such act. For a split second I did not understand what was happening as the overhead cables sent down three separate shocks to my body, sucking my limbs and body in. My hand was the first to have come in contact with them, followed by my chest. Then my leg got pulled by the strong current," says a moaning Gaund. Regret is apparent in his tone.

Luckily for him, the cable snapped due to his weight and he fell on the pantograph, the equipment on the roof of the train that guzzles electricity from the cables. "I was lucky that I am still alive. I have been thinking of how my family would have managed without me. I want to request others never to try this stupid act ever. It has given me nothing other than pain," he says, still staring.

Meagre means
Gaund, who works as a waiter for caterers across the city, earns Rs 5,000 a month. He has three siblings: two married sisters and a younger brother who has cleared Std X. His father is a carpenter in Pune while his mother, Lata, is a housemaid.

The family came to know of the incident the morning after when policemen visited their house at Vithalwadi the morning after the incident.

"We were waiting for him, but he didn't come home the whole of Wednesday night. I thought he must have stayed back at a friend's place," Lata, his mother wept.

The doctors at Sion hospital said that Rahul has suffered with 40 per cent burns due to electrocution. "The shock has resulted in internal swelling on his muscles, especially in his arms and thighs. He is mentally fit but his body is failing to give the necessary support and his condition is critical," said a doctor on condition of anonymity.

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