In second such instance in the city, a woman delivered a baby on board a PMPML bus which was travelling from Shivajinagar (PMC headquarters) to Bhosari. The baby boy, weighing 3.4 kg, came into this world around 6 pm Tuesday. But not before his mother and some people going through some real tense moments inside the bus.
Twenty-five-year-old Maina Tukaram Bhandekar, who was nine months pregnant and was due on May 26, was returning from Ratnagiri in a State Transport bus along with her two daughters, aged three and five years. She has four daughters.
An hour before Swargate, the woman developed pains in the bus. However, she kept it to herself. After getting down at Swargate around 4 pm, she hailed an autorickshaw to head for Bhosari. As the autorickshaw headed for Bhosari, her pain grew. The autorickshaw driver then told her that it will not be possible for him to take her till Bhosari. He then dropped her on the bridge near PMC headquarters. Writhing in pain, the woman mustered courage to alight from the staircase, taking one step at a time and without any help from anybody.
Bhandekar then boarded the PMPML bus at the PMC headquarters bus stop. The jam-packed bus started moving around 5.35 pm. As it took a sharp U-turn under the bridge, the woman seated in the middle of the bus clutched on to the front seat tightly, but kept mum. “I found it difficult to tell the commuters that I was in pain. I wanted to go to the hospital, but couldn’t say so…,” Bhandekar told this paper on Wednesday.
As the bus reached Wakdewadi, a distance of nearly three kms, the woman felt uneasy and luckily, the bus conductor Manisha Rokde noticed her plight. She immediately went up to the driver and asked him to drive slowly. “Then I asked the woman to sit on the floor of the bus. She asked for water. One of the passengers then rushed forth with a bottle of water,” said Rokde.
As the woman complained of further pain, the conductor asked the driver to halt the bus at Bopodi. All the commuters then quickly alighted from the bus. A few women commuters, however, stayed back and helped the woman deliver the baby. Rokde then rushed to Bopodi police station and sought their help to shift the baby to the nearby Khadki Cantonment hospital. The driver was specifically told to avoid potholes and drive at slow speed on speed-breakers. Doctors at the cantonment hospital said both the baby and mother were doing fine. “The woman had a normal delivery,” they said.
The Bhandekar family hails from drought-hit Latur but had gone to Ratnagiri some eight months back in search of construction work. “There is no work in Latur… people struggle for drinking water,” the woman said.
Both the husband and wife work as labourers.The woman’s mother and brothers have been staying in Bhosari for the past two years.
Asked why she took the risk of travelling when the baby was due in few days, Bhandekar said, “I was told by the doctors that the baby was due on May 26… that’s why I decided to travel.” She said she was told by doctors in Ratnagiri that her HB was very low and she would have to undergo a C-section delivery. “My daughter has four girls and this is the first boy in the family.. I am very happy for her,” said grand-mother Parvati Jadhav.
Deepak Pardeshi, who retired a few months back as PMPML spokesperson, said he had served the PMT, the earlier avatar of PMPML, for 40 years, but had only once heard, some 15 years back, about the birth of a baby on board a bus. “That one I think had happened in Hadapsar. This could the second instance of its kind.”
Meanwhile, a PMPML spokesperson said they would felicitate the woman conductor for showing presence of mind and extending all possible help to the pregnant woman.