March 12, 1993 was just another day for Satish Mahajan. The 29-year-old tailor had finished work on a kurta.
He had been at it for long and was rather pleased with the cut. That was the last he thought of his kurta — a deafening explosion forced him out of his shop in Worli, south-central Mumbai.
Thirteen years later, Mahajan says time has done nothing to blur the images of the day that killed 88 people. “I will never forget it,” said Mahajan. Neither will any of the residents and shopkeepers in the Dr D.H. Kharude municipal market, opposite Century Bazaar.
Ask people about the blast and there is no hidden excitement about having been there on Ground Zero — only blank stares and awkward quotes. We were lucky we got Mahajan and a few others to talk.
For hours, Mahajan worked at the blast site, rushing the injured to hospital and pulling out dead bodies from the rubble. “Even after 13 years, there are people who avoid lanes where bodies were found,” said Mahajan.
The blast was so severe that the roof of a BEST bus landed in the premises of the Crompton Greaves building across the road. “People were reduced to a lump of flesh in seconds,” said Sandeep Sarmalkar, 42.
“Please go away. I do not want to think about the past,” said Ramesh Jaiswal, who runs a footwear shop and lost his brother in the tragedy.
On Tuesday, a TADA court held Abdul Gani Turk guilty for the blasts in Worli. “Hang him in public,” was all that Eknath Rahate, who lives in the Nehru Nagar slums across the road, managed to say.
Thirteen years later, no one has recovered from the blasts. Not really, says Mahajan, as he points to a peepal tree that was charred in the blasts but managed to sprout again.