As terror wounds heal, families forge bonds
They share mattresses while sleeping in the hospital corridors, wash their clothes together in common bathrooms and share pickle and gossip over home-cooked meals. More than a month after 26/11, as the victims recover at JJ Hospital their relatives have bonded big time, reports Alifiya Khan.india Updated: Jan 05, 2009 02:08 IST
They share mattresses while sleeping in the hospital corridors, wash their clothes together in common bathrooms and share pickle and gossip over home-cooked meals.
More than a month after 26/11, as the victims recover at JJ Hospital their relatives have bonded big time.
“I sleep, eat, wash and pray here. For the last one month, I’ve seen nothing of the outside world. We’ve received so much help from the hospital staffers and relatives of other patients that it feels like home now,” said Salaam Sagir (21), whose father Sagir Dalal has been admitted for plastic surgery.
Dalal — a grocer from Sholapur and the only earning member of his family — was shot when terrorists had opened fire at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) on November 26. Salaam’s mother sleeps on the floor of his father’s ward while he sleeps in the garden or corridors.
Of the 15 terror victims and their relatives, most said they would remember the hospital for a long time.
“I have left my job and children in Patna to look after my mother. I lost my brother in the attacks and my mother was seriously injured. This is like a second home. We feel safe here. There are people — even other patients –— who care for her. It’s overwhelming,” said Babloo Gupta (33), whose 62-year-old mother Maltidevi has been admitted with bullet injuries in her leg and stomach.
Babloo’s sister sleeps with his mother in the women’s ward while he sleeps in the corridor or in a rented room for which he pays Rs 50 per day.
A few paces away lay 54-year-old Lalji Pandey who said he had learnt a few things about his own family, thanks to the terror strikes. Lalji’s older son Kamlesh, who takes care of him at the hospital, had rushed from his hometown to look after him while his youngest son Shailesh, who was with him on the night of the attacks, had fled the scene with his wife.
Refusing to say anything more about his family, Lalji said he is glad that other patients at the hospital are supportive. “It’s like a small family and we are all united by a common pain,” he said. Son Kamlesh sleeps in the hospital corridor along with the relatives of other patients.
Some patients who have been discharged are a tad unhappy at leaving their new family behind.
“I’ll miss them when I go. They were good to me,” said 10-year-old Devika Rotawan. She was with her and father at CST, waiting to board a train to Pune, when the terrorists had struck.