Two years after their meagre homes were decimated in a blaze of shrapnel, relatives of Capital’s serial blasts victims continue to eke a helpless and miserable existence on the pavements of Ghaffar Market, one day at a time.
"It seems like it was just yesterday," recalled 45-year-old Ashok Pawar as he thoughtfully stood outside Gali Number 42 — the spot where 17 persons died horrible deaths on September 13, 2008.
Seven of these 17 were from one family. And, Pawar’s two-year-old grandnephew Kishan Kumar was one of the seven.
"I was standing right here, talking to my nephews Ram Lal and Ashok Bhati, who had just brought Kishan out for a stroll around the market when the bomb went off," Pawar said, pointing to the broken windowpanes of the market complex across the road.
Those unfortunate enough to have witnessed the episode tremble with fear and anger as they recall the horror.
"I was just sitting outside my house and chatting with my relatives when the bomb exploded. I lost both my sisters Santosh and Pooja within minutes — not to mention my eye. My father survived the blast, but couldn’t cope with the depression of having lost his flesh and blood," said 48-year-old Krishna Devi.
Two years have passed since shrapnel from the improvised explosive devices pierced through her stomach at six places. Yet, Devi still frequents the hospital for the fear of any infection.
"We come from hardworking families who have been reduced to living on the footpaths. Lots of people — mostly from the media —came to visit us after the incident and for weeks after it. But we were forgotten soon afterwards," said 18-year-old Yashodha Bhati, who lost her father and older brother in the Ghaffar Market blast.