At 9.36 pm, the exact moment when the first shots were fired last year in what would be a four-day terror siege, 50 Cama hospital doctors and nurses gathered with their families to light candles and say a prayer for Baban Ugre and Bhaudev Narkar.
Rangoli patterns covered the spots where the two security guards were shot dead.
A message board nearby featured tributes to the two men.
‘The rivers of blood and showers of bullets have stopped, but the wounds remain as fresh as they were’ said one. ‘They laid down their lives for the country. In their footsteps we will follow. We swear we will stay together and work together’ said another.
Through the day, the staff had tried to stay positive.
Bouquets were handed out and hugs exchanged as they celebrated their “re-birth”.
“Happy birthday, Mausi,” nurses and doctors greeted surgical ward ayah (attendant) Hirabai Jhadav (48), whose birthday is actually on June 7.
A year ago, a bullet had grazed Jhadav’s right hand as she shielded two pregnant women in the maternity ward on the first floor.
“I regained consciousness three hours later and realised part of the bullet was stuck in my hand while the rest had hit the wall,” she said. “If it had hit my head instead, my two sons would have been orphaned.”
As 10 pm neared, though, the hospital became hushed and subdued. “I have been living here all year and I managed to block out the memories,” said Dr Vijay Koravi, a gynaecology resident who hid on the terrace that night. “But as the night goes on, I cannot help but relive the trauma. It’s a very uneasy feeling.”
Seventy-five hospital staffers were on duty when Ajmal Kasab and Abu Ismail stormed the hospital. On Thursday afternoon, the hospital workers’ union felicitated them for their courage and presence of mind, which saved the lives of 180 patients.