After two major surgeries within 36 hours, Ram Narayan Shukla, 48, lies on a bed in the general ward of Saifee hospital with heavy bandages wrapped around his head and waist, an intravenous drip attached to his hand, and dried blood still visible in the crevices of his fingernails.
Despite intense pain, Shukla considers himself fortunate for surviving the blast at Opera House, an area he visits often when on duty as a house and interiors painter.
“I was walking behind Pancharatna building when all of a sudden there was a deafening blast, smoke, blood and tremendous pain,” said the Mahalaxmi resident who did not lose consciousness despite hundreds of metal and glass shards lodging themselves in his head and abdomen. “A stranger brought me to the hospital in a taxi and called my family.”
In 1990, Shukla left his village in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. He came to Mumbai and taught himself to paint. Now, while his 24-year-old son is by his side, his wife is struggling to get a train ticket to come see him.
“We want to meet and thank the man who saved my brother’s life,” said Shukla’s brother Hem Narayan, also a painter.