Shahana, 14, was sitting in coach S2 of the New Delhi-bound Kalka Mail on Sunday evening, chatting with her mother and brother when the train suddenly shook.
The next thing Shahana remembers is lying under a heap of luggage and bodies, her mother and brother nowhere in sight. She slid out of a window and managed to escape unhurt, only to discover to her horror that her mother was one of the 67 passengers who died in Sunday’s accident.
Shahana was inconsolable, but nevertheless got up and continued her search for her brother, Kaleem, who was still missing.
Every time she heard a voice through the mangled remains of the carriages, Shahana would rush to the policemen, and plead for help. “He is in there calling. Come and help him. He can be saved,” she pleaded.
Eventually, a police officer led her to Kaleem, covered in a white shroud. As she held his lifeless body she screamed: “You cannot die.”
Unlike Shahana, Sita is still waiting for a reunion with her brother.
An engineer with a mobile phone company in Kolkata, her brother Aditya Shukla was in the A1 coach, on his way home to Kanpur.
"He was coming to see Sita whom he hadn’t seen in the last two years," said his brother Amit Shukla.
Since he learnt of the accident, Amit has been to each and every hospital in Fatehpur and Allahabad, but he is yet to get any news of Aditya.
"He is neither among the dead nor among the injured. I have been calling his mobile phone. But it is switched off," said a tearful Amit.
About 50 others from different parts of the state were sent back in a bus arranged by the Railways when they could not locate their missing relatives.
The inspector general of police, Allahabad zone, Javed Akhtar said: "We have got the list of the injured displayed at all the hospitals wherever they are being treated, to help passengers identify their relatives."Out of all these tales of death and desperation, Ram Bhali Singh’s story stands out.
Bhali was trapped under the wreckage, the metal twisted around his leg and neck making it impossible for rescue teams to bring him out alive.
But he did not panic, and listened to the army doctor Anand Mishra’s instructions, and that is how he came to be rescued.
"His calmness saved him," said Mishra who treated him on the spot and rushed him to the civil hospital.