Anwar was standing near his bakery when he saw a Kerala SRTC (State Road Transport Corporation) Fast Passenger bus approaching at high speed. As the bus slowed down near his bakery, Anwar saw the conductor trying to frantically clear the traffic ahead of it. “When I enquired with him, he said a woman passenger had collapsed in the bus and that she had to be rushed to a hospital,” Anwar, who runs Aliyan’s Bakery in Adoor, Pathanamthitta district, told TNM.
The driver of the bus, KS Jayan, was zipping through the road, even as other motorists hurled abuses at him, to get the woman passenger to the nearest hospital. He did not even make any stops at the scheduled destinations. But despite Jayan’s best efforts, the chock-a-block traffic on the National Highway connecting Kollam and Alappuzha districts in Kerala due to a temple festival posed a problem.
But when they reached KP Road, the traffic got worse. It was sheer luck that bus slowed down near Anwar’s bakery – because in addition to running their own bakery, Anwar and his brother-in-law, Nisam also run a free ambulance service.
Anwar and Nisam
“When the conductor told me about the medical emergency, I offered to take the woman to a hospital,” said Anwar.
“Because of the festival, there was heavy traffic on that stretch of road and it would have been difficult for a bus to make the vehicles pave the way. With the help of a few of my volunteers, we shifted the woman to our ambulance and took her to government taluk hospital in Kayamkulam,” he narrates.
Two years ago, in December, a family of three met with an accident near Anwar and Nisam’s bakery, and later died. “When we saw the footage captured by the CCTV camera at our shop, we realised that the three members, including a child, were left on the road, without any help, for almost 15 minutes. We felt helpless. But we decided to do something about this,” recounts Anwar.
Two days later, Anwar and Nisam found a second-hand ambulance in Malappuram, which was up for sale on a website. It cost them about Rs 3 lakh, including repairing it. “We are not financially sound. We run a small, two-room bakery. We had to borrow money from our friends and even sold some gold ornaments to buy the ambulance. But we wanted to do our bit to save lives,” Nisam tells TNM.
It is not just accident victims, but the duo helps anybody in need. “We give them first aid services and take them to the nearest hospital in our ambulance. We did not start this for any benefits, but as a service to society,” reiterates Anwar.