Maruti Naikwade, 65, has a shop in Zaveri Bazaar. Four years ago, he was in his shop as usual, when he heard a loud noise and watched the crowded market area ripped through.
His life was saved, Naikwade said, because he ducked at the right time. Others around him were not so lucky.
“I heard a deafening noise and saw everything shatter around me. I ducked, and that is why I think I am still alive. A boy standing right next to me was severely injured. Thankfully, doctors managed to save him. My eardrums were completely damaged.”
Naikwade’s body is yet to recover from the injuries. And his mind from the trauma.
“I was treated and eventually thought I had recovered, but later I realised that at times, I can’t hear. Till today, everything goes blank in my ears for a few minutes,” Naikwade said.
Like him, hundreds of Mumbaiites are still suffering from the mental and physical injuries they sustained in the serial blasts that targetted the city’s commercial areas four years ago.
While 11 people were killed, and 70 injured at Opera House, 16 died and 43 were hurt in Zaveri Bazaar.
Another victim, who did not wish to be identified, got splinters and glass shards inside his body as Zaveri Bazaar exploded. The pain has subsided, but he can’t hear properly.
“I was treated and the gover nment compensated me as promised, but I still can’t hear nor mally. Four years down the line, my ear drums have not healed completely. Often, I can’t hear what others are saying.”
Naikwade said the memories of the blast are still fresh, and the nightmares refuse to go away. “Two weeks ago, I saw a police bandobast in the area, and I was terrified I would have to visit the 2011 horror again. Any mention of a bomb threat or hoax brings back the terror I felt that day,” he said.