Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Remembering 11 minutes of disaster

Today marks first anniversary of what I remember as the worst day of my life as a Mumbaikar. Exactly one year back, 7 bombs exploded within a span of 11 minutes in local trains at different locations across the western suburban line of the city claiming 209 lives and injuring over 700 others.

Thinking of the portentous day, memory of each moment makes my heart heavier. I do not have words to describe how much I love Mumbai and the people out there. It’s a city that taught me the way to live life. And it was really really painful to see my city losing its pulse.

As I got the news, my heart stated sinking. It was not more than a year ago that rains lashed Mumbai claiming hundreds of lives. And now a terrorist attack... Why is this happening to my city? I had fair bit of an idea that the telephone networks would soon get either suspended or they will be very congested as it happens on every disaster of this scale. I immediately tried calling home and ensured everyone is fine there. Then I tried calling my father but his cellphone was unreachable. It wasn’t too unexpected as his network provider doesn’t have a very good network. But still, my father being untraceable was something that added to my fear and grief. Hoping for the best, I called up at his office and got to know that he had gone out for a meeting and should have finished with it now. In my mind, I tried to calculate the time it takes to reach from the place where the meeting was to the bombing spots and I was quite sure he was not in any of those trains. I was a bit relieved. Then I called some of my friends to ensure everyone was fine and to inform that I was fine.

Having got to know that my father was not on any of the bombed trains, but still was untraceable, I decided to take onto the roads and go to the place where he had gone to attend the meeting. I started from my office at Kandivli at about 6:45 PM. I had a long way to go (more than 40 kms) to reach Churchgate. And I knew it was not going to be easy. All the local train services were shut down. And anyone who is familiar with Mumbai would know the huge number of people using local trains as major mode of transport. It happened during peak hours and the sheer thought of millions of Mumbaikars travelling on road was scary.

All the while, I kept picking up people and kept dropping them. No traffic cop stopped for having 3 people sitting behind me on my bike. I could see thousands of stranded people trying to get into any vehicle that could help them get to their homes.

Seeing my city so helpless was painful. And the pain was very intense. I didn’t realize when I started crying. All I remember is that I stopped the bike in a corner and cried like hell. I could not handle it anymore. Somehow I gained some courage back and I started my journey again. When I reached Bandra, I got a call from my father. He said he was fine and he was at a family friends place in Wadala.

In the next two hours, I reached there and picked him up. Coming back home was no different. We had about 50 kms distance to cover (from Wadala to Bhayander). Still the same kind of traffic. The only thing that was different was that now we had people on the streets helping others who were stranded in whatever way they could. Some were offering water, some were distributing biscuits. Everyone was ready to help others. I again had tears in my eyes. But this time, it was not just out of grief it was more out of a sense of pride, a sense of belonging.

I kept riding until I reached Malad. It had been almost 6 hours that I was riding my bike. I took some rest there for about 30 minutes and then started again. We reached home at about 3 AM.

News channels across the world were airing the footages of the blast sites. We could see it all... Blown off trains, rattled bodies, shaken people, some crying some still in shock. I specially remember that it was raining. Kept raining for the most part of the night. Seemed like nature was mourning at the sacrifice of martyrs of Mumbai.

The calendar on the wall says it was one year back, but even now, all memories are still fresh on my mind. I want to forget it but I just cannot. It rarely happens to me but I am falling short of words to describe what I am feeling right now. May the souls of the martyrs rest in peace and god give strength to all the families that lost their loved ones. I wish and pray to God that such an inhuman thing never repeats anywhere in the world.

4 comments:

Kishore Kumar A said...

It's an emotional and a nice narration.

AnupChandra said...

Nice post..

Rodrigo said...

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Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Se você quiser linkar meu blog no seu eu ficaria agradecido, até mais e sucesso. (If you speak English can see the version in English of the Camiseta Personalizada. If he will be possible add my blog in your blogroll I thankful, bye friend).