Ramesh Shelar, 28, is counting his blessings. Employed as a driver with a diamond jewellery store, Shelar was in the car – a white Wagon R – at Opera House when the vehicle next to his blew up. He escaped with minor injuries.
His family believed he had been killed, until they hunted him down at Saifee hospital. “Television channels flashed that seven persons, including two occupants of a white Wagon R, died in the blast. I braced myself for the worst,” said his younger brother Sandeep, 26.
Ramesh is not complaining about the four stitches on his forehead and the three wounds on his right leg. “The blast took place right next to my car. The windowpanes of my car shattered and there was smoke all around.”
Ramesh said after the initial shock, he pulled himself together and escaped from the left side of the car. “I ran, and it was only when I reached the basement of Panchratna building that I realised I was bleeding from my forehead and that I had difficulty walking.”
The driver hails from Satara, where the rest of his family, including his wife and sons live.
He said he realised how narrowly he had escaped death when he saw a photograph of the mangled remains of the Wagon R in the newspapers. “I would not have given anyone sitting in the car a chance of surviving, but here I am, alive, with just a few stitches on my forehead.”