Seconds after a bomb blast ripped through the train at the Borivali station, Samir Gujarati looked at his smashed right leg and knew he had lost it forever.
“I was mentally prepared to lose my leg that very moment after the blast,” says the 37-year-old who now wears a prosthetic right limb below the knee. “I told the doctor to cut my leg if required.”
But, Gujarati, a civil engineer, who was waiting for a train to take him to Goregaon on July 11 last year, did not allow the blast to cripple his life — or kill his optimism.
“The tragedy does grip me sometimes, but I make sure I and my family are not affected by it,” he says. His job involves being on foot for a long time.
“Civil engineers spend half their lives on sites. Even after my leg was amputated I was determined to continue doing my job,” says the Goregoan resident sitting at his small office, Samir Gujarati and Associates, near his house.
Since he got the prosthesis done in September, he has already made five trips to Jammu for a project and even went on a family vacation to Haridwar, Rishikesh and several other religious places. “I have decided not to lose track of life because of the handicap. I have decided to cope with it.”
The handicap also means taking practical steps to cope with the changed reality.
“I had a bike with a kick start which caused problems to the prosthetic limb. I sold it and got a new one with a self start,” he says. Gujarati, who considers himself fortunate to have recovered quickly from the blast, recently took his wife to Hinduja Hospital to visit Parag Sawant, another blast victim who is still in a coma.
“When I saw Parag I told my wife that we are lucky for so many reasons.” He says the reason he has agreed to speak to the media and share a tragedy which, at the end of the day, is a personal one, is to give hope to other victims. “I want to spread the message that there are a few of us who have tried hard and almost recovered from the incident. This may give other victims a boost to fight back too.”
Framing of charges on July 30
Meanwhile, a court on Friday asked five of 13 accused in the July 11, 2006 train blasts conspiracy to hire lawyers by July 6 and said framing of charges against all must begin on July 30.
None of the defence lawyers attended the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on Wednesday, the first day of hearing in the case, in which 186 people died and hundreds were injured when bombs exploded in first class compartments of seven local trains during the evening rush on July 11 last year.