13/7 took away his legs, but not his will to stand again
Rediff.com's A Ganesh Nadar meets a victim of last year's deadly triple blasts in Mumbai who lost both his legs in the terrible incident. But the irreparable injury, coupled with financial crises, has not dented his spirit of responsibility.
It's been almost a year since the three blasts at Opera House, Zaveri Bazar and Dadar areas shook Mumbai to its core. 26 people were killed and more than a 100 injured in the July 13, 2011 catastrophe.
Some of the victims were seriously impaired for life for no fault of theirs, except for the fact that they happened to be in the spot where the enemies of mankind had planted bombs to maim and kill innocents.
Namdev Narayan Dhulup was a peon in one of the diamond broker's office at the Opera House area for ten years. Six months before the disaster he decided to try his luck and quit his job. His pay was not enough to support a growing family consisting of his wife and three little children.
On that fateful evening, Namdev was standing on the road as usual hoping that some business would came his way before it was time to go home. But what came his way was the terrible blast -- which happened right next to him -- and changed his life forever.
"The cops reached me almost immediately and took me in their van to the nearby Harkisandas Hospital," he says.
The hospital could not save his legs but managed to save his life. He had to spend the next nine months in hospital. Luckily he did not have to pay any money for his treatment there.
Despite being restricted to his home for the past three months, Namdev's health problems have not eluded him. His right thigh still throbs with pain. He has gone to the Saifee hospital to meet the doctor who treated him at Harkisandas earlier. They found a glass piece in his leg and had to be operated upon again. This happened a week back. They have told him to come back for a check up in a fortnight.
Namdev's modest slum-dwelling at suburban Khar-East is very small. The lane leading to his house is narrow, filthy and completely dark.
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Image: Namdev Dhulup stands tall despite losing his legs in the 13/7 blasts in Mumbai
Photographs: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com
'I have to do something to look after my family'
Finding Namdev is very easy at Nirmal Nagar area in Khar. All you need to ask for is last year's blast victim's house. You will be lead to a one-room tenement which has its own mezzanine floor.
Namdev is sitting on the ground and his wife Nikita is washing clothes near the door. He welcomes us with a smile that breaks your heart. He spreads out a mat and tells his wife to switch on the fan and give the guest a glass of water.
He hails from Raigad district of Maharashtra and has studied up to the sixth standard. He says that the government gave him Rs 2 lakh and the Diamond Brokers' Association another Rs 50,000. He has put the money in the bank and does not even take out the interest. It's his only savings.
Namdev's brother-in-law lives with him. He is working and gets a regular salary which he uses to look after their family.
He has three boys who are all in school -- one is in the second standard, one in the fifth and the eldest in the seventh standard.
Namdev's wife says, "Nobody has come to see us, the world has forgotten us. In the hospital so many people came and promised to help, but nothing has happened. I have met the local corporator so many times even when he was in hospital. He made the biggest promises but has not even come to see us."
Even though Namdev has lost both his limbs he has not forgotten his responsibilities. "I have three children; I have to do something to look after them. I cannot expect my brother-in-law to look after us all his life".
He has a wheel-hair and also a tricycle that he can be operated with his hands. He thinks he can manage a milk booth. "I can look after a milk booth; I can manage a pan shop also. You know anyone who would help me set it up?" he asks innocently.
The corporator could provide a space on the pavement near his house. Welfare organisations like the Lions or Rotary club could provide the booth.
Here is a man who has lost both his legs, but he has not lost his will to live, the will to look after his illiterate but strong wife, the will to nurture his children.
Those who would like to help him can reach him on 9220379869.
Image: Namdev and his wife Nikita are still fighting a lonely battle to sustain their family
Photographs: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com