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Gali No-42 counts wounds

Yes, lives have changed in Gali Number-42, Beadonpura. But, for the worse. Thirteen-year-old Shyam, till a year ago, was fending for his family by earning a Rs 1,500 salary doing odd jobs. Today, he has developed a fear of crowds and has completely stopped working, reports Karan Choudhury.

delhi Updated: Sep 13, 2009 00:23 IST
Karan Choudhury

Yes, lives have changed in Gali Number-42, Beadonpura. But, for the worse.

Thirteen-year-old Shyam, till a year ago, was fending for his family by earning a Rs 1,500 salary doing odd jobs. Today, he has developed a fear of crowds and has completely stopped working.

His father Harsan, brother Ashok and sister Saroj died in the blast that rocked the crowded lane at 6.17 p.m. on September 13, forcing the lives of most Gali No-42 residents to take a complete U-turn. Nineteen people were killed, including Shyam’s near and dear ones.

“I fear going to crowded areas. I fear someone might plant a bomb and kill me,” Shyam says. His seven-year-old niece Simran also lost her father in the blast.

She thinks he has gone to a different city to earn money, so she can become a doctor.

“She goes to a government school in Raghubir Nagar. I will do all it takes to make her a doctor,” Simran’s mother Kamlesh says.

Two-year-old Kishan Master was the youngest victim of the blast which killed the sole earning members of most of the 70-odd families .

They now survive on the Rs 5-lakh compensation of the state government.

“The blast made my left hand completely useless. My two daughters Pooja (17) and Santosh (22) are dead. Most of my money was spent on my wife’s treatment. She has lost an eye,” Rama, one of the victims, says.

Tragedies also throw up stories of heroes. In Beadonpura, it’s a banyan tree, which stands right outside the lane, that has earned the people’s respect.

“The tree saved many lives. It shielded many people from the shrapnels when the bomb exploded. We worship the tree now,” says Santosh, who lost her husband in the blast.