Monday, 12 May 2014

Modern day thugees?

These last 30 days have seen us go through many deep issues as a family - some of which we will probably have to wait for some years before we write up on this blog... but here is one that deserves to be told.

On the 14 of April we got a series of emails from Dad saying that his dear friend David Masih was missing for 36 hours.  David lives in Dehra Dun and had gone to Delhi.  He was travelling back from Delhi by bus on the 12th of April and called his wife after having boarded the bus at 9 PM.

Then there was nothing.

He did not arrive the next day.  At the end of the day the family and friends started looking frantically for him.

The local police refused to register a First Information Report about his disappearance because he had not disappeared from Dehra Dun.

The search widened.  Bus drivers and conductors could give no information.  The police stations along the way did not.  The hospitals and morgues were visited.  Not a clue.  No sign of David.   His phone was ringing for some hours but was not being picked up.  Then it went dead.

The police finally contacted the phone company.  They showed that a series of calls had been made at around midnight to his wife, son and a friend.  None of them, however received the calls.

No further clues.

When Dad called up on our weekly call on Monday night he mainly talked about what was happening in the search.  He said that they were specifically praying that if David was still alive and wandering about somewhere that he would be given strength and grace to come to his senses and find help.  We prayed over the phone and I hung up.

The next morning this is what I found from Dad in our mailbox (unedited of course):

On 15-04-2014 06:47, Ray Eicher wrote:


At 5:00 am this morning David turned up at his door.  He is very sick, almost unconscious, beaten, bruised….but ALIVE.

In the bus he was befriended by a family who poisoned him. At some point along the line he had tried to phone Usha, his son, brother, etc. and it seems that they then tried to cut off his tongue, as his mouth has bad wounds.

When he was totally unconscious, these people stripped him naked, beat him very badly and then threw his body in the garbage dump.  Somehow (AS AN ANSWER TO OUR PRAYER) he came to consciousness and found himself walking naked in the street.  All this has happened in two full days, he has no memory of details, time, nite or day, where he was, nothing !!!!!!!!!

Most people seeing him would think he was just another mad man walking around, as probably he could not talk properly.  At one point a kind Samaritan gave him some clothes and later another kind truck driver brought him all the way to Dehra Dun and dropped him at the ISBT (Inter State Bus Terminus).  He was able to persuade a vickram driver to take him home, promising that he would be paid there… he ended up at the door.

Rajesh is there now with the family and they have put David to bed. They might be admitting him to hospital as he is totally gone and in need of much care.


As we were praying last nite, the Lord gave Christa this word from Ps 4:1,3-5:

“Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!  You have relieved me in my distress;  Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.

“But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself;  The Lord hears when I call to Him.

Tremble, and do not sin;  Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.  Selah.

“Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and trust in the Lord.”


Christa last nite was recalling when our son Stefan came back from Uganda with cerebral malaria.  He was unconscious in the LCH hospital here.  Christa was lying on the floor in the chapel, crying out to the Lord.  Usha (David’s wife) came, put her arms around Christa and gave her the verses from Ps 41:1-3:

“How blessed is he who considers the helpless (the poor…as Stefan was doing in Uganda);  The Lord will deliver him in the day of trouble.

“The Lord will protect him and keep him alive, and he shall be called blessed upon the earth.

“The Lord will sustain him upon his sickbed;  In his illness, You restore him to health.”

So, Usha dear, we thank the Lord with you, and we also remember with deep gratitude your love and concern when Stefan was at the point of death.  WHAT A WONDERFUL SAVIOUS WE HAVE.  AMEN AND AMEN.

Thanks too for all of you who have prayed over the past days.  Truly we have a LIVING, LOVING, MERCIFUL LORD.  Amen.

Yours, with tears of joy,  Ray and Christa


Please continue to pray for David and Usha as they recover from this ordeal.  The wounds are deep.

It is sickening to me that we cannot travel in public transport without fear.  Where the simple act of sharing food is now taboo.  How sad.  

Growing up one of the joys of train rides was the crossing of barriers and making of friends by sharing what we had brought.  It is so impolite to eat something in front of others without offering something.   

And yet today, when I was travelling to Delhi last with a male friend of mine, I cringed when he offered biscuits and chocolates to the kids who were travelling with us.  Cringed because now-days people think twice when they see a young man giving things to kids.

How have we come to such a point where the availability of drugs (like GHB?) which apparently do not taste different can be mixed in with food or drink and given to unsuspecting fellow travellers?  Our dear friend Benjamin suffered the same horrific experience 2 years ago - and it is still a miracle that he emerged alive.  

Do we have a new form of Thugees in our midst?

At the end of the day - as with our friends David and Benji - we are so glad for fervent prayers which were heard in such a miraculous way.  Our friends are literally back from the dead.   We pray that the horrors of what they have gone through will be also healed by our Lord.  

But what of all those who do not come back?  Over a decade ago, the chaplain of one of the EHA hospitals in central India went to Delhi and never returned.  His wife who is a nurse in the same hospital has never found out what happened.  One of the many who have disappeared.

And what a bleak set of 'safe-guards' we have to erect - to not accept anything from a stranger - even the friendliest kind.

Cry the beloved country.

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