Of the three blast victims still undergoing treatment at Sion hospital, Vinod Chavan is the most composed. As he closely examines the Marathi newspaper in front of him, Chavan does not complain about his fate.
The 52-year-old insurance inspector with the Labour Ministry — he was in the compartment adjacent to the one that blew up in the Matunga blast — is grateful he survived.
But the steel rods popping out of his left arm, the plaster encasing his left leg, the scars on his forehead, his immobile right leg and a face pockmarked by shrapnel are indications that life may never be the same again for him and his family.
The only earning member, Vinod lives with his mother, wife and 16-year-old son Prathamesh in Uttan Gaon, 10 km from Bhayandar. A salary of Rs 15,000 afforded the Chavans a comfortable life: Vinod has no debts, he inherited the house he lives in and his mother is healthy.
Prathamesh’s education was the only major expense.
But it will be another two weeks before he is discharged, and three months before he can return to work. He will probably need extensive physiotherapy to regain full use of his limbs.
And he now has to worry about his son’s education.
Vinod has received Rs 50,000 in compensation from the railways. “But, it will be months before I can lead a normal life,” he says.
Chavan was on his way home from Parel — he’d been posted at the animal hospital there for two months — when he was injured in the 11/7 explosion.
“I heard the blast,” he recalls. “People started to jump off the train in panic and I got dragged along in the frenzy.”