Having witnessed the 60-hour battle against terror in Mumbai unrelentingly on television, images of bullets whizzing around, bloodied streets, grenade blasts and courageous men -- scaling walls and dropping from helicopters -- have been etched in our minds.
What many of us did not see were images of some brave men, caught in the path of the devastation they were trying to curb -- images of their homes and lives rocked by a stray bullet or a carelessly chucked grenade.
One such braveheart, Captain Amitendra Kumar Singh of the National Security Guard, found himself alone at the Bombay Hospital on November 27, injured in the attack, and unable to get in touch with his family and fiance.
The captain and his team arrived in Mumbai on the morning of November 27 and were sent straight to the site of action: The Oberoi Hotel.
As they closed in on terrorists, shrapnel from a grenade hit Amitendra's eye. He was immediately evacuated and sent to Bombay Hospital.
Captain Singh was preparing himself for surgery the next morning even as he recounted the horrors of that fateful evening for rediff.com Doctors believe his vision will be impaired after the surgery; in fact, he might even lose complete vision in his left eye.
His fiance, Dr Madhu Singh, a dentist, was at home in Lucknow when she received the news -- two whole days after the incident. She was getting ready to go to work and her husband-to-be called her from a borrowed cell phone, informing her of his injury.
Her heart literally stopped at the news, and she got on the next flight to Mumbai, arriving even before his parents. The frail-looking lady has been a pillar of support for her fiancee, wiping his bad eye and repeatedly assuring him of how proud she was of him.
The captain hails from Lucknow and has been posted in Gurgaon, near Delhi [Images]. It is easy to forget how young this man is as he smiles and tells you his horror-laden yet heroic tale of the terrorist attacks. However, his emotions come pouring through in tears when he remembers details that are too painful to bear, and one realises that this hero is barely 25 years old.
Once the tears have been wiped and traces of his mischievous smile start playing at the corners of his mouth again, he jokes, saying, "Arre, don't take my photo today. Take it tomorrow when I have shaved."
Image: Captain Amitendra Kumar Singh with his fiance a day before surgery. Text, photograph: Insiyah Vahanvaty
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