Day 2 after the devastating Blasts. Mumbai returned to normalcy. Almost. The trains were running on schedule, The same passengers, though they are little ruffled, still joking and laughing, over-crowded trains etc. Everything as usual as if these blasts were nothing but just a routine affair. But only one thing has changed. The faces that regularly met at First Class compartment. Some families will never be again the same. They lost everything in a moment.
Where is the help?
Right after the blast, within 2 minutes of it, I reached the spot. By then, fellow commuters who were in the next bogies started the rescue mission. They pulled out the injured from under the dead bodies, put them into the waiting hands and eased them to the grass and tracks. But where is the transportation? I saw an official; probably the Matunga station master, came to the site after 10-15 minutes the blast, took one look, and was on his phone. His exact words were “Idhar Bahut bada blast ho gaya hai! Mamla bahut bekhar hai. Jaldi gaadi aur police bhej do” (A big blast occurred here and the situation is worse. Send help and police immediately! Then it took another 30 minutes for the first ambulance to reach the spot. Talk about disaster management!!
It rained soon after the explosion, making rescue mission more difficult. I spoke to a policeman at the site, who was drenched in his Khaki uniform from the rains. He, a hardened policeman, too was shaking his head.
I - “Sir, How is the situation?”
Cop ; “total 7 blasts occurred and it’s total mayhem. Bloody bodies keep arriving from the trains. I have never seen something like this”
I : Why Police took so long to reach the site?
Cop; What do you think? We were sitting idle in our office and dozing off? Arre, (a popular way of addressing here in Mumbai) there were total 7 blasts and we were busy at other sites;
Point taken sir. Only at that time I was aware about the other blasts
It was once again on display; the famed resilience of Mumbai, the so called spirit of Mumbai. Total strangers were consoling the relatives of injured, People set up tables in front of their housing society distributing water and snacks. Local youths were trying to stop vehicles to put the stranded people on them so that they can go at least little closer to home. The slum dwellers rose to the occasion, first providing bed sheets as stretchers and helping in the rescue, then providing water and snacks in front of their shanties. Local Telephone booths, PCOs, let people to make calls without any charge. Just write the number on their log;
Some one called my city as the rudest in the world a couple of weeks back. Do you still dare to call it? The compassion at display was overwhelming. People lined up to donate blood in major hospitals. Is that what you call rudeness? Or may be taking a total stranger to your home and sheltering him, like those locals did!