I was travelling to Hyderabad and had a train from the CST(Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) railway station which was arriving at 9:50 PM. It was the first time I was checking in to the CST railway station. I reached station an hour before the arriving time of my train. We all are aware of 26/11 terror attack happened in Mumbai on 26th November 2008. It was a Dark Night for Mumbai. Where few terrorist travelled by seaway into the Mumbai and terrorised the Mumbai city in just single night. I remember I was going to college for my final semester exam on that day. Just before reaching the college I got know that my exams are cancelled and got postponed due to that terror attacks happened in Mumbai last night. Being a teenager that incident didn’t impact on my sentiments that day until I watched the movie The Attacks of 26/11. Truly speaking I was literally crying while watching that movie. The way those terrorists were shooting at all the innocent people, it was bloodcurdling. I burbled all the bad words I knew for all those terrorists while watching that movie, but all those bad words were still not enough for them. When I entered the CST railway station all those scenes which I saw in that movie got flashed in front of my eyes. Just like today, that day also CST railway station must be heavily crowded. Some people were returning from their journey, some people were about to start their journey, some people just came for goodbye wishes to their dear ones, some people were enjoying the food at the railway canteens, and many more people. You know!! Railway Stations and Airports always have an emotional attachment to the all of us. There was a Remembrance Icon established in the memory of passengers and the railway workers who became the victims of that terror attack.
I got the curiosity to have a conversation with those people who were the live victims of that terror attack. Shopkeepers who were selling their kinds of stuff like Vadapav, new papers, juice etc. became my target. I was hungry so I went to one of the Vadapav stalls. There was no doubt on the taste of that the Vadapav. I noticed that the man is very busy in selling his Vadapav so I decide not to disturb him. After eating Vadapav, I started roaming and looking for the next shop which is not rushed to the customers. I saw one book stall named A. H. Wheeler & Co. Pvt. Ltd. There was not a single customer at that shop. And that shop became my target. I simply went there and ask if they have a minute to talk.
There was a person named Mr Puran Singh who is from Etawah, Uttar Pradesh, who had seen that terror attack by his own. I started asking questions, How this happened? What was the scenario during that time? How frightened were the people? How he managed to escape? and the series of lots of questions.
He said that “I was returning from the Husainsagar Express after selling the magazines and was moving ahead towards the Chennai Express for doing the same. Just before leaving my shop for the Chennai Express I heard lots of gunshot at the station. Initially, I thought it was a firework as that day India won the ODI cricket series against England by defeating them in the 5th ODI cricket match. But soon I got realized that it was a gunshot. I saw lots of people were falling down on the floor after having gunshots, some people are running randomly in any direction to save their life. There were children as well. I got totally freeze for 5-10 seconds. I was not able to think that what is going on. The time when I got my consciousness back, I ran.. I just ran.. I had no idea where I am running. I didn’t care about my shop which was completely opened. Luckily I went inside one of the railway offices which was having a shortcut way towards the nearest street from the railway station. And I saved my life. I was highly panicked.”
I was able to sense the pain in Mr Puran Singh’s eyes while he was describing the whole incident which he faced. His eyes got little wet while talking. I was having continuous goosebumps while listening to Mr Puran Singh. “I came back after 2-3 hours just to make sure about my shop. And I saw lots of dead bodies on the floor. That was the most threatful moment of my life. I immediately closed the shatters of my shop and went back to my home.”, Mr Puran Singh continued. He showed me few gunshot marks which are still present on the wall of his shop. He also has one bullet which was penetrated into the wooden wall of his stall. I had about 20-25 minutes conversation with Mr Puran Singh before catching my train. I felt very sad after listening to Mr Puran Singh and his story.
It’s been about 9 years that terror attack happened. But still, whenever we recall those moments we feel sad. We will never be going to understand that why these incidents are happening again and again in the name of Religion?, not only in Mumbai but all over the world. When these terrorists will learn the lesson of Humanity and will stop killing innocent people all over the world? I always feel dejected by listening that someone lost one of his dear ones in such incident. Terrorism should be abolished from this world to make this world more beautiful and peaceful.
“The Sole Meaning of Life is to serve Humanity”
– Leo Tolstoy