It was a chilly London night, around nine years ago. Mile End Tube Station. There, Vishwanathan emerged in front of us, out of the blue! A tall skinny young man. We did not ask him his native place. In fact, we-Mini my wife, my elder son Ashique and myself, were not in a disposition to ask that. Ashique was then twelve year old. Only he had the mettle to ask his name. Mini and I were too perturbed to ask anything.
That was a time when we had delved deep into spiritual life. It was the year when Night Vigil prayer was initiated in Upton Park, London. The services, which begins at 10 pm lasted till 5 am. It consisted of night adoration, Holy Mass and a brief sermon. Sometimes, around 400 persons took part in the worship.
We were living in a place called Ickenham in West London. The night vigil takes place at East London. We need to travel in a tube train to reach there. The journey took almost an hour. We needed to get down at Mile End Station, and fetch another train. We travelled together – Mini, my two sons aged twelve and ten and I. The city shivered in December chill. We were all wrapped up in heavy sweaters.
We got down at Mile End Station and waited for another train. All of a sudden a train came and halted in front of us. There were only a few persons to get down. Our younger son Appu (Athul) rushed into the train. But, even before we could enter, the door of the train was shut!
In the bustling London city, several trains rush to and fro. And here is a ten year old left alone in a night train, with no one around but strangers. He didn’t have a mobile phone; neither would he remember my number.
Deeply upset, Mini sat on the station bench. I too stood there not knowing what to do. Only Kuttu, my twelve year old eldest son, had the presence of mind to dial the emergency phone on the platform.
When, Mini was about to burst into a scream, a train approached the station from the opposite direction. Appu, the missing child, is waving his hand from inside the train!
We couldn’t believe it! There was a young man with him.
We ran to him as soon as the train came to a halt. Mini hugged him frantically. I stammered to the young man: “Thanks…”
He smiled. Then he moved and got into another train, wishing: “Good night!”
Then Kuttu asked: “Your name?”
“Vishwanathan – “he replied in distinct Queen’s English. The door of the train was shut. The train raced into the thick darkness.
Keeping him close to her, Mini asked Appu: “How could your return so quickly?”
He said: “When the train left, I shouted: ‘I am lost; someone please help me!”
It was Vishwanathan who rushed to help him before anyone else.
London metro has stations every three minutes. He got down at the next station with Appu. Getting on to the opposite direction, they got into another train, and reached Mile End Station.
Mini said: “We couldn’t even thank him properly…”
I consoled her saying: “We don’t say thanks to God!”