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How they escaped death
Manu A B in Mumbai
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July 12, 2006 18:43 IST
Ask him, 'How are you?' and he keeps quiet. His worried father says he can hear only if you speak loudly. But after a while, he starts talking...

"It's a day I will never forget for the rest of my life. I can't believe I'm still alive. I still can't get over the shock," says 22-year-old Arvind Sharma, who works with an export company at Bandra. He is one among the 28 badly injured blast victims at the Karuna Hospital in Borivali, northwest Mumbai.

In 15 minutes, he would have reached home as usual, but destiny willed otherwise. He has gone partially deaf, has minor injuries all over, his head is still reeling and he has unbearable body ache due to the impact of the fall he had after the explosion. He also hasn't been able to get any sleep.

"I always take this train after work. I was standing in the crowded first class compartment when I heard a huge noise," he mumbles feebly.

"The train was about to leave the Borivali station from platform No 4. Initially I thought the overhead electrical wires had snapped. It all happened so suddenly that we couldn't tell what had gone wrong. I couldn't hear anything at all after the big bang," he explains.

"From what I can remember the train compartment was ripped apart and people were thrown all over the place, some dead, some bleeding. I fell on the platform and was lying there till some good Samaritan took me to the hospital," he says with much effort and difficulty.

"The doctors have checked his ears and given some medicine. They are yet to start the treatment. We have to do a detailed check-up to confirm if he has any internal injury," says his anxious father.

"Whatever has happened is unexplainable, only the ones who went through it will know what it is to escape from death. I only want to tell the government that it should take immediate action and book all the culprits behind this dastardly act," he says.

Sympathising with other victims, he says, "Just look around. Everyone is in a bad state. It is very shocking, very disturbing."

On the bed next to Arvind is Santosh Vichare who is still in a state of shock. He has a head injury. Thirty-year-old Santosh works with Mahindra & Mahindra. When the train pulled into the station, his only thought was to get a foothold inside the crowded general compartment, but before he could board the train, the bomb went off and he was thrown away with lot of other people on the platform. "The images are coming back to my mind. I just can't think of anything else. I don't know how long it will take for me to get over this shock," he wonders.

Another survivor is 30-year-old Nilesh Soni who has bruises all over this body. His eyes are swollen and he can barely open them. His right hand is badly injured. He had boarded the train from Andheri. His wife Dipali and sister sit by his side, praying for his early recovery. "He is not in a position to talk. Doctors have told us to leave him alone and allow him to take complete rest," says his sister. "We are relieved that he escaped from the jaws of death," says his friend.

Doctors at the hospital say the victims will take a long time to get over the shock. It is the psychological damage, more than the physical injuries that the blasts caused, which will take longer to heal and get them back to lead a normal life. They will have also suffer from some hearing problems also due to the deafening noise.

Yet, the relatives are relieved that their loved ones survived a terrible tragedy and are now out of danger.

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