Several cups of chai, Google Translate, and a doctor’s resolve are what helped a 22-year-old Yemen national reunite with his brother late Wednesday night in Gurgaon — five days after he was found lying unconscious on the roadside in Gurgaon’s Kadarpur.
“Yusuf, Yemen, India treatment, lost passport” — these are the words he furiously typed in Google Translate on Dr Yogender Singh’s phone on April 21 as they sat down for tea at Gurgaon’s Civil Hospital, where Singh is the casualty in-charge. “This was a breakthrough after four days of not understanding a word of what he said. I then wrote to the Yemen embassy,” said Dr Singh.
It was on April 18 afternoon when Yusuf was brought to the hospital after being found unconscious on the street. Singh said, “He had no coronavirus symptoms… He was running around and didn’t obey any orders. Some staffers thought he had psychiatric issues, but when I met him, I realised that was not the case. It was just a language barrier. He had a scar on his head, so I knew he had undergone neurosurgery.”
Singh asked various patients to try and converse with him — in Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, and so on. “It was a failure. Then my assistant told me he only drinks tea and eats biscuits. So I started drinking tea with him several times a day. In three days we became friends. He would give me a thumbs up every time he wanted tea,” said Singh.
Singh eventually gave a pen and paper to him, and asked him to write something, which the doctor photographed. “I thought it was Urdu, so I sent it to my friends who understand, and he told me it was Arabic. So I went back to him and opened Google Translate on my phone. He suddenly took it and typed his name and the name of his country,” said Singh.
But emails to the Yemen Embassy went unanswered. It was then that Singh asked his wife, Dr Saroj Yadav, who works at the CGHS dispensary, about seeking help from police personnel who come to her for treatment for help with reaching out to the embassy.
Somnath Paruthi, SHO of Greater Kailash police station, who had visited the dispensary, promptly decided to help. “If a doctor can go out of his way to help someone, what excuse do I have? I was amazed by the doctor’s will to help, so I sent a policeman to the embassy in Vasant Vihar, only to realise it had shifted to Anand Niketan,” said Paruthi.
Constable Hawa Singh then visited the embassy’s new address to find only a guard there, who helped him with an official’s number. “The SHO put me in touch with the official who told me they had received a complaint about a missing Yemen national from Delhi. I sent them a picture of the patient, which was then sent to the complainant,” said Singh.
On Wednesday night, when Singh left the hospital, he got a call that the complaint was about Yusuf, and that his brother and translator would pick him up.
“They said they only know Medanta hospital in Gurgaon, so dropped Yusuf off there. I had to find his family; he is a guest in our country who needed help,” said Singh. In broken English, the translator told Singh that Yusuf and his brother had come to India for his treatment in February. He was operated on a few months ago and was prone to blackouts.
DCP (South) Atul Kumar Thakur said, “The family and the embassy officials have expressed appreciation for the efforts by the doctor couple and Delhi Police. They have gone beyond their call of duty.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines