Coming to terms with terror, 16 days after bombing

July 29th, 2011 - 1:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, July 29 (IANS) The July 13 bombings in Mumbai have already receded from the front pages, reduced to a concise 13/7 in India’s terror annals. But scores of survivors and their families continue to relive the horror of that nightmare at dusk when three blasts ripped through this bustling financial hub of India.

Twenty-four people were killed and more than 120 injured on that Wednesday evening when three bombs went off in Dadar, Zaveri Bazar and Opera House. For those who survived, many of whom are still battling their injuries in hospital, memories of that initial eerie silence that gave way to screams of pain, the smoke and the haze of confusion will stay… probably for life.

For their families, some pacing hospital corridors while their loved ones soldier on inside, the it-can’t-happen-to-us confidence has been shaken.

Sita Yadav is one of them. The blast at Opera House critically injured her father and brother and she wonders now how it could ever have happened.

“I wish we didn’t have our shop near the Opera House,” she said as her father Babloo and brother Baburam underwent treatment at the Harkishandas Hospital.

Sita said that she saw the news about the blasts on TV and tried to contact her father and brother, both scrap dealers. She couldn’t get through for a long time, and realised they were in trouble.

“I constantly kept calling on both the numbers. Later someone from the hospital received the call on my father’s mobile and told me he was injured. The wait in between almost killed my mother,” Sita told IANS.

Others elsewhere in the city are going through the same cycle of “if only…” and coming to terms with the enormity of what has happened.

Shivaji Patil, 25, being treated at the Bombay Hospital, was working in Zaveri Bazar when the blast occurred, leaving him partially deaf.

Shivaji suffered injuries on the left side of his neck, ankle and left ear. The doctors have operated upon him and removed the foreign body lodged in his neck.

“Shivaji works for a stationery shop and had been married only three months ago. He can still hear the sound of the blast,” said his brother Dagdu.

Their parents live in a village in Solapur and are inconsolable.

“They came to visit Shivaji twice, but all my mother can do is cry. My father is silent all the while. It’s like he’s crying from inside,” Dagdu told IANS.

“Shivaji is stable now, but will still have to be kept under observation. He has suffered hearing loss and still can’t speak properly,” said Dr Sagar Sakle of the Bombay Hospital.

Doctors, too, are negotiating their own emotional minefield.

According to Sakle, the rush of the injured and dead in hospitals was a struggle for doctors dealing with the crisis.

“We are trained to handle the worst crisis situation ever, but we are still humans and feel sad for the relatives of the victims we couldn’t save,” he said.

“But our doctors take the step forward and become psychologists too. When they realise that the patient’s death is inevitable, they start preparing the relatives mentally to steel their hearts to bear the loss,” he added.

“It was overwhelming to see the plight of the victims, but our doctors were fully equipped and trained to handle a crisis situation. Nearly 70 doctors worked on the victims at a point,” added an official of Harkishandas hospital.

“The situation in itself is very disturbing, seeing the broken legs and burnt bodies. But we as doctors have learned to put a curtain over it and move on to save others who still have hope,” he added.

(Mauli Buch can be contacted at

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