The train left Churchgate station at 5:57 PM precise. Me and my friend were little late leaving office so we opted to get in to the second last bogey instead of our normal 4th coach. I was engrossed in my reading and soon the train was entering the Matunga Platform. Since it was a Fast local it doesn’t stop at Matunga. Suddenly a loud explosion occurred. First I thought someone set off a cracker in some celebration. Then there was this sound similar to pelting stones on a sheet metal. (It was the strutting out sheet of metal scraping on the sleepers) My first thought was, “Oh Sh*t, some protests are going on and they are stoning. But by then the overhead wire, carrying 1500 Volt DC, fell to the other side of the train. People started jumping from the moving train. It happened so fast, that I now wonder whether it has happened at all. I shouted “Don’t Panic” to fellow commuters. By then my friend came along and grabbed me towards him and told me to jump. He too felt that the wire fell down and there is a chance of electrocution. By then most of the people got off, jumped to the tracks. In the process, someone broke a leg, some landed on the other etc.
Once got down, I could see the 4th Coach was totally destroyed. I grabbed my camera, ran towards the scene, and once there, regretted my decision.
It was one of the worst scene I ever witnessed. Dead bodies were lying on top of other. I started shooting. But I was so trembling, I got only 5-6 frames right. The rest was spoiled. The scene was horrifying. One man, under two dead bodies, raised his head, looked at my lens then died. Another was sitting on the ground, side of his face totally punched inwards, teeth protruding outwards awkwardly and bleeding. He was so emotionless. Totally shocked. Another lay on the tracks, his innards came out through a big cut in his stomach and was just rolling his head. In despair? Or in Pain? I may never know.
After shooting for some time, I felt dizzy. The smell of blood and the smell of death were all around. It was intoxicating. In fact I read about the smell of death. But came to know only yesterday. Raw flesh, severed limbs and a head, bodies scattered around the tracks… I couldn’t stand it any more.
The courage and Spirit of Mumbai was once again in full swing. By the time Police and Help arrived, a good 45 minute later, most of the injured were transferred to available transport and to hospital. Ripping the train’s seats they made makeshift stretchers and carried the people on it. No one thought about the possible danger. Whether there is another bomb etc.
I made it out of the station to see the spirit once again. Nearby residents and Local Shiv Sena activists came out with snacks, water and some youngsters forcibly stopped the passing by vehicles. Whether it’s a good’s carrier or it’s a Merc. They put the stranded people into the vehicles. At least they can get a little closer to home.
I’ll be continuing this series . Right now I feel stressed out. Seeing all the blood and gore, I wasn’t able to sleep. It’s sheer luck that I am still alive and I thank god for that. And my heart goes out to those families who lost their dear ones. I can’t get one image from my mind. One guy, was in the same position as he was from the beginning of the journey. Sitting, hands supporting head and sleeping. He died in his sleep.