How are you? Where it pains? Do you know me? Rahul Gandhi asked 14-year-old Nizamuddin keeping his hand between his palms.
His words thrilled the young survivor of Malwan tragedy that claimed 71 lives and left 350 people injured like him. With a smile ran on his face he spoke fervently -yes I know you.
But Congress general secretary taking a good look at heavily bandaged legs, which were nearly crushed in the tragedy, wiped his moistened eyes. And he quickly returned his dimpled smile to the boy and asked the doctors to do their best for Nizam.
Then he told the family not to worry about anything, Nizam will be back on his feet again.
In his 45 minutes stay in the burn and surgery wards, Rahul intently met, consoled and comforted the injured. The injured were desperate to bare their emotional wounds before him and share their ordeal and complaints.
Rahul, playing a soothsayer, went from ward to ward, meeting the 62 survivors and seeking feedback on their condition from the doctors.
Niranjan Kumar told him: "It was a catastrophe. My family survived but what all of us went through will be hard for them to leave behind and move on."
Shambhu Singh in ward 8 asked him to inquire about his brother. "My swollen eyes don't allow me to see you properly, I have heard a lot about you," said Shambu from his bed.
"I am worried about my brother; I don't know where he is," he said to Rahul who asked an official to look into the problem. Pramod Jaiswal who lost his brother Parmeshwar in the morning and four other relatives still under treatment wanted him to help to be sent back to Kolkata.
"What I had or got from railway was spent on Parmeshwar's treatment at a private hospital. I have nothing left," said Jaiswal whose torso is wrapped in bandages. Rahul keeping his both hands on his shoulder promised he will shortly be making the arrangements.
Provir Mandal in ward 11 when saw him coming towards him asked: "What should I tell you. I have lost my hand and I don't know how I will spend rest of my life." In the adjacent ward 10-year-old Deepak came running to shake hands with him. His father with a fractured leg waived at the leader who told him not to worry.
In this ward five members of Tana family-Subra, Shatrughan, Vishwas, Vikas-lay on the bed groaning. The other member Sandhya Tana was shifted to the ICU minutes before he walked in. He went to all the members one by one asking the doctors about their condition and treatment being given.
He assured to V Tana, father of injured Subra, all possible help in this hour of crisis. Tana who was about break down before him, thanked Gandhi.
Accompanied by minister of coal Shri Prakash Jaiswal, Gandhi went to the ICU where three people were being treated.