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CST survivor's woes don't end in hospital

December 03, 2008 14:41 IST
Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, or as it was known earlier, Victoria Terminus, is one of Mumbai's best known landmarks, apart from being the busiest railway terminus in the city, and possibly in the country as well. The station is perpetually crowded at any time in the day or night as trains that crisscross the city and states start and stop here.

On November 26, life in CST froze to a halt as two terrorists, armed to the teeth, heartlessly mowed down the crowds, most of them ordinary people waiting to return home after a hard day's work, or railway employees manning the various stalls.

One of the survivors of the carnage, admitted to JJ Hospital, recalls the horror: "We were waiting at the station for our train to come. We live in Vapi (Gujarat) and were going to Benaras via Mumbai to attend a family function."

If only she had considered her sister's suggestion, to stop by her house in Goregaon (in the western suburbs) for dinner and then leave together to the station, her tale could have been different.

"My sister and I had decided to go together, but I didn't want to burden her and so reached the station by myself at 9:30pm that day; our train was to arrive only after midnight. If only I had agreed to her, I wouldn't be lying here," recalls the 34 year old mother of two, who has gun powder blisters on her right hand and shoulder.

Her husband, who works in a paint manufacturing company in Vapi, said he was at the station to send them off.

"My older son had gone to buy a platform ticket for my husband. We were waiting for him when suddenly we heard gun shots, which we initially thought were firecrackers. It was only later that we realised that it was a terrorist attack and that two youths were shooting at people randomly," said the patient almost in tears.

Composing herself, she continues, "Though I couldn't see the boys' face, I could see that they were young kids. They just started firing at all the people who were there. My husband and son had a narrow escape."

"I am happy that it was me who was injured. If it had been my husband or son, I would have been devastated. Luckily nothing happened to them. In just a matter of a few minutes, I was bleeding profusely from my right-hand and shoulder. It looked like a fountain of blood oozing out. We somehow managed to get out of the station and were immediately rushed to St George's Hospital, where I was given first aid and shifted to JJ hospital," she said.

What surprised her when she gained consciousness, was that the right side of her torso had been operated upon -- when there was no injury there.

"I don't know why the doctors have operated on this part of my body. When I asked them, they said that there was blood clotting and so they had to operate it. I know that nothing happened in that part of my body from the blast or firing. They suspected it might be a result of tuberculosis and that I might have had taken medication that would have caused the blood clot. But that is very strange as I never had TB. These people have operated on me for no reason. I do not trust these people and want to leave immediately. My husband also has mild injuries but I do not want him to be treated at JJ."

Nithya Ramani