"Each time I pass the spot, I remember the horrific incident," said 30-year-old Sachinkumar Singh, who brought the 5:57 pm Virar fast to a screeching halt on hearing a blast as the train passed Matunga station at 6:25 pm on July 11, 2006. Thick black smoke and commuters calling out for help is what he remembers seeing from the motorman’s cabin.
Now, a year later, when the Western Railway is ready to push the same compartment, 864-A, into service, Singh tries to mask his wounded self by smiling at cameras documenting 11/7 stories. “The affected coach will be back on tracks as an answer to terrorism, but lives have been lost. A simple train journey turned fatal for 186 commuters. This is the reality of life.”
Tuesday, July 11, 2006 is etched in the memories of many but for the men who motored the seven trains in which bombs exploded, not a single day passes without the ghastly recollections.
"I will not forget the gory scenes for the rest of my life," said BK Majhi, the driver of the 5:19 pm Virar fast. A bomb in his train exploded at Mira Road station at 6:29 pm. "I still shudder at the memory," said Majhi. "The people who placed the bombs should not go scot-free."
It’s the same story for Mushrat Firoze who slips into the scenes at Jogeshwari station where a bomb went off in the train he was motoring at 6:25 pm. "The blasts will be remembered as one of the most cruel incidents for Mumbai’s train commuters," said Firoze.
"I am at a loss when I start to think how a person can take innocent lives," said 47-year-old Madhukar Surse, who drove the 5:50 pm Borivli fast. A bomb in Surse’s train exploded at Bandra at 6:24 pm.
The blasts pushed 37-year-old Anjani Kumar Pandey to spirituality. A bomb in Pandey’s Borivli-bound local exploded at 6:24pm near the Khar-Santacruz subway. "I had a close shave. It is god’s will that I survived," he said