‘Blasts have become part of our lives, we have to move on’

January 5th, 2009 - 12:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Jan 5 (IANS) Even as people were greeting one another and praying for a more peaceful 2009, a string of three bomb blasts tore through Guwahati on New Year’s day, killing six people and leaving more than 50 injured. The next day, a stoic population, benumbed by the endless explosions rocking their lives, went about their daily chores.”How much can you discuss the bomb blasts, the explosions? How much can you be scared? After a certain point you just become numb, and sadly that is what is happening to us here,” Rashid Ahmed, who works in a telecom company, told IANS.

Sitting with his friends and enjoying a cup of coffee at Brown Bean Café, a popular hangout joint, Ahmed echoed the sentiments of hundreds of others in the city.

“There is heavier army patrolling on the streets now, but unlike the stepped up security in the markets like in Delhi where there are metal detector door frames or CCTV cameras, there is nothing like that here. Even then people are going about their business… living through the blasts has almost become like a way of life,” he added.

Ashima Baruah, a school teacher, put it poignantly: “Everytime there is a blast, my heart skips a beat. I pray that none of my family members or friends were at the blast site, I pray that I don’t have to strike out any of my students’ names the next day in the attendance roster.”

“It’s a dreaded feeling… but if you keep brooding over it, you will be a dead person walking. These blasts have become so much a part of our lives - we are learning to pick up the pieces of our lives and go on the very next moment,” Baruah said.

For many it’s a matter of their daily bread for which they have to resume their lives almost mechanically, even after such turbulences.

Anup Das, who owns a small cloth shop in the busy Panbazar area of the city, said: “A blast occurs here so often that if I have to pull down my shutters after each of them, I would be out of business. What am I going to feed my family then?”

Agreed Rahul Singha, manager at a restaurant. Citing the Oct 30 serial bomb blasts in the city in which 81 people were killed and more than 300 injured, Singha said: “After the serial blasts last year, it was utter mayhem. There was a curfew declared the next day, then a total shutdown. Business suffered a loss of 50 percent.

“No matter how insensitive we may seem, we just can’t afford that every time. We have ourselves and our children to feed and no matter how much we may want to, we can’t sit at home and mourn. We have to pull up our shutters and get back to work the next day,” Singha told IANS.

(Azera Rahman can be contacted at azera.p@ians.in)

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