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Two years after 11/7, hope floats

Life has changed drastically for Chiraj Chawan, who exactly two years ago, was caught on board one of the ill-fated trains blown up in the July 11 Mumbai blasts which damaged his spinal cord and rendered him immobile, reports Bhavika Jain.
By Bhavika Jain | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUL 12, 2008 03:02 AM IST

“I am expecting to do well..” smiled Chiraj Chawan (20), talking about his Chartered Accountancy results, which will be declared on Saturday.

“I have fared quite well. And yes, my friends helped me with my studies, said a smiling Chawan, clad in a black t-shirt and jeans, seated on a wheelchair.

Indeed, life has changed drastically for the youngster, who exactly two years ago, was caught on board one of the ill-fated trains blown up in the July 11 blasts. The tragedy damaged Chawan’s spinal cord and rendered him immobile. His spinal cord in the accident and has been paralysed below the neck.

Chawan is one of the many who were injured in the train blasts and now slowly but surely picking up the pieces of life, looking forward for a better tomorrow.

“Education helps you grow in life. I want the younger generation to understand that it is very important to study well,” said a beaming Chawan, unfazed by his disability.

Chawan was present at a meeting of July 11 victims convened by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kirit Somaiya at Dadar on Friday.

Like Chawan, Rajesh Jha (22), another blast victim, was also full of optimism. Jha has a foreign, metallic object embedded in his spinal cord and his right side is slow with bodily reflexes.

The only earning member of his family, he hasn’t let any of this impede his studies. “I am working for a bank and will appear for my M.Com exam. I wanted to become a CA but now that I have lost two years fighting this tragedy, I have other plans,” said Jha, who stood first in his Part I exams last year.

“True that I won’t take up chartered accountancy now, but I want to be in the senior team of an international bank.”

But still battling with life is Sunita Jaiswal who lost her husband in the incident. Jaiswal is now shouldering the responsibility of her two sons. “My younger son has a congenital heart ailment. He has to undergo surgery, which will cost about Rs 8 lakh.”

Jaiswal is now employed with the railways. “But my salary is what housemaids get in most of your homes,” said Jaiswal.

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