July 11, 2015 12:37:03 am
Even as painful memories come back haunting them every year, a few of those who lost their loved ones to the July 11, 2006 serial blasts in Mumbai have given hope a second chance.
On July 11, 2006, seven blasts ripped through seven local trains, claiming 187 lives in just 11 minutes. While life was snuffed out of many, for their widowed partners, the last decade has been a gruelling experience. Terming it, perhaps aptly, as the “black day” of their lives, many widows, who remarried, continue to suffer the painful loss of their former spouses.
Anita Shrivastava, now a train indicator peon at Malad station, gave marriage a second chance earlier this year in January. But memories of losing her former husband Abhinav still trouble her. Abhinav died when a bomb blast ripped apart a local train between Mira Road and Bhayandar on July 11, 2006. With her in-laws not keen on supporting her and her three-year-old daughter, Anita found comfort in her railway job.
“I will always be thankful to railway officials, who came to my rescue and persuaded me to take up Class IV work. Even though I lost my husband, my work helped me lead my life with respect and take care of my daughter,” she said. Though still young, Anita, did not hurry into a second marriage, waiting for the right companion and someone who would accept her daughter.
“On January 29, 2015, I gave myself another chance. My husband is a very good person. He cares about me and my daughter,” she says.
However, the month of July suddenly stirs tragic memories of the decade gone by and the struggle she had to put through. Something that she had never imagined. “I try my best to forget this black day but I just can’t,” says 34-year-old Anita.
According to data provided by Western Railway, out of the 189 deaths, 62 relatives of victims did not take up Class IV job. Out of remaining 127 people, 74 have joined railway in other posts and others are cases of minors and those seeking more time to join. Among 74 people, 40 are women relatives of the victim comprising 28 widows, 8 daughters, two sisters, one daughter-in-law and one mother.
For Sweta Futane, a peon at Andheri station, life was equally hard. Not only did she lose her child, but in a span of 15 days, she lost her husband in the train blasts. She had been married for a year in 2006, when she lost her child and then on July 11, her husband Yogesh Futane died in the train blast between Mahim and Matunga. With no support from her in-laws, Sweta took up a job in the railway. Two years ago, she married Shrimat Khanore, a BEST employee.
“Though I can’t forget that fateful day, I am trying to move on. I am happy with my husband, who is just the person I wanted to be with,” she says, adding that she is happy that the railways gave her a job.
For some like Katha Naik Wade (43 years), a junior clerk at Mumbai Central, life hasn’t changed a bit. She and her son, who was only two years old at the time of the incident, are still waiting for Hriday Wade to come back.
“We keep hoping he will come back. I never gave marriage a second thought. My son has grown up now and we are happy being there for each other. But July 11 always haunts us. I wish I could remove this date from not just my life but the calendar as well,” she said.
For 40-year-old Archana Ghume, now a junior clerk with Railway Recruitment Cell, Mumbai Central, finding another companion is difficult. Her daughter was nine-years-old when her husband Prabhakar died in the bomb blast at Matunga.
“The blast that killed my husband was the last of the seven bombs that took place on July 11, 2006. And the pain of losing my husband continues to last us to this day. I could never think of remarrying. I had a daughter and mother to support,’’ she says.
The death toll now stands at 189 with the death of Parag Sawant this week. He was in coma for nine years.
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