I was on my way to Borivli around 11.30 am, when I saw a large crowd of about 100-150 people peering into a nullah at Naigaon. I stopped the car to see what was happening and was shocked to see a newborn lying in the nullah, with ants and mud all over his face and body. People were busy taking pictures and videos and I heard them murmur ‘dead baby’. But then I saw a tiny movement in the baby’s hand and realised he was alive! I immediately went down to the nullah and picked him up. I washed the mud and ants off his body with two bottles of water and then wiped him dry with my handkerchief.
12:30 pm: The baby as he was found at the nullah after being abandoned by his parents. Pics/Nimesh Dave
It was an emotional moment for me; I didn’t know what to do next. I called my wife, Kalpana, and told her everything. She told me to drop everything and take the child to the hospital first. I did not know where I could find a good hospital nearby, so I called my brother in Kandivli and he suggested Oscar Hospital. 40 minutes later, I reached the hospital with the baby and narrated the story to the staff, who immediately took me to the doctor and started the treatment. The hospital staff and doctor were extremely supportive; they didn’t even ask me to deposit any cash before starting the treatment. I will, however, clear all the bills.
3 pm: Baby Ansh with Nimesh Bhansali at a Kandivli hospital, after doctors revived him and treated him for dehydration
Today, I feel like I’m on top of the world. I saved a life. Seeing him safe, drinking milk and wearing the clothes I bought for him — nothing has ever given me as much satisfaction as this. I think it was providence — I am Jain and I found this baby on Mahavir Jayanti.
Passers-by only took pictures of the newborn, who was lying in the nullah, covered in ants and mud. Fortunately, Nimesh Bhansali realised the baby was alive and rushed him to hospital
I don’t know who the baby’s parents are and why they left him there, but he is still their flesh and blood, so I named him Ansh. When I was at the hospital with him, the Charkop police came and said the case was not in their jurisdiction and that I should go to the Naya Nagar police station at Mira Road. But when when I went there, they told me to go to the Vasai Vali police station in Naigaon. It is so disheartening to see how society and the authorities just pass the buck.
The spot (left) where Nimesh Bhansali found the baby
The hospital has asked me to get the birth certificate for Ansh, but I don’t know what to write in the column for his parents’ names. I will wait for a few days and then finish the procedure. My wife and I have two sons and would have been thrilled to adopt a baby girl, but if no one comes forward to help Ansh, maybe I will adopt him. He has already become the star attraction at the hospital and everyone, from the hospital staff to the patients, wants to catch a glimpse of the child who was abandoned and then given a second life.
Such cases can be registered under Section 317 of the Indian Penal Code, which relates to exposure and abandonment of child under 12, by parent or person having care of it. When Nimesh Bhansali went to the Juchandra police chowky under the Vasai Vali police station, he waited for 1.5 hours before a constable told him that he already knew about the abandoned baby and had seen Bhansali rescue it from the nullah. But he refused to register the case at the time, saying it was a lengthy procedure. Bhansali was asked to return to the chowky the next day. Senior inspector at the Vasai Vali police station, Narayan Patil, said, “We will register the FIR as soon the person comes to us.”
Dr Nitin Pawar, managing director of Oscar Multispecialty Hospital, confirmed that he was treating the newborn. “The kid was severely dehydrated so we started the treatment immediately. His face and back were covered in dirt and ant bites. He is stable now. We gave him the Lactogen baby formula and oral antibiotics.”
Nimesh Bhansali said he would try to adopt the baby if no one came forward, but he will first have to go through the right procedure. Vijaya Murthy, chairperson of the Mumbai Child Welfare Committee, said, “He can contact the nearest police station or he can approach the child welfare committee. There is a procedure that needs to be fulfilled before any adoption.”