March 12, 1993: I was secretly thrilled at being let off from school early. It was our first day in a new place and it felt like the world was celebrating with me. We didn’t have a telephone line as yet and learnt of the tragedy only the following day when the mother called the nani from a PCO. The horror and destruction struck home only a decade later when I chanced upon Hussein Zaidi’s Black Friday, at Crossword. A friend very generously loaned me a pre-release copy of the film, a CD I have with me till date, lest I forget. Subsequently, I also watched it in a theater (in Pune) with tears streaming down my face.
July 11, 2006: I only heaved a sigh of relief. I had gotten out of work early to visit the grandparents and was planning to get there by train. A quick change of plan and I decided to tag along with the father by road, which in turn saved my folks hours of agony post the blasts in the train. I fell asleep that night with a prayer of gratitude on my lips. That mild sense of gratitude came accompanied with hurt and anger. The incident felt like a rude invasion of my space. The normalcy the next morning pricked more. Maintaining two minutes of silence for the blast victims a few days later only left feeling more infuriated.
November 26, 2008: I was heart-broken. I sobbed for hours, poring over the visuals on a computer screen. Individual tales of survival haunt me till date. I fought with a close friend when he requested me to get him a bullet-holed coffee mug from Leopold.
July 13, 2011: I was numb. I was nervous. I was tired of being stoic and brave. It was fine until I was indoors, in a cushy South-Bombay office. The listless look of my co-passengers on the ride back home was unnerving. The constant need to update and let people know I was fine was draining. No, I wasn’t fine. But who had the time to care just because I didn’t have a physical wound on me! Exchanging small talk didn’t help. Nervousness led me to giggle, which didn’t help either. I got off at Goregaon, totally spent and then I spotted a van full of cops outside the station. A cop put me in a rickshaw homeward-bound and I could just about mumble an incoherent thank you. That night, the tears refused to oblige.