Life has moved on for most, but scars remain
HT spoke to four victims about their lives after the 1993 blasts.Updated: Mar 22, 2013 02:17 IST
‘Why isn’t everyone involved being punished?’
Mumbai: Even the enclosed environs of her second-floor house could not protect Kamla Malkani, 58, from the intensity of the blast that hit Century Bazaar. Malkani is not happy with the SC’s verdict. “Everyone who was involved in the blast should be punished equally,” said Malkani.
Even after 20 years, Malkani remembers that she was busy attending to her clients in the beauty parlour that she ran inside her flat, when the glass panes on the windows shattered from the blast impact.
“The mirror in the parlour broke and the glass pieces pierced my head,” said Malkani, who got 15 stitches on her head and also lost her sense of smell. Malkani’s elder sister Sunita Bhawanani was severely injured too. Both sisters did not get any compensation. “We were homeless for 22 months after the blast,” said an agitated Malkani.
‘Today, I am just surviving rather than flourishing’
Mumbai: On March 12, 1993, Naresh Gidwani was walking towards the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Dalal Street at around 1.30pm when a blast tore through the area. “The blast took away everything. I have not stepped on that street ever since,” said Gidwani, who lost sight in his left eye and was left with partial vision in the other eye.
Gidwani, then 25-years-old, ran his family business in generator spare parts from an office near Dalal Street. After the blasts, he closed the shop and set up an electronics repair workshop near his house in Khar.
“Today, I am just surviving when I should have been flourishing,” said Gidwani, who wears sunglasses to protect his right eye.
‘I fought against all odds to survive’
Mumbai: Kirti Ajmera spent seven years in hospital recovering from injuries sustained during the blast near the BSE building. His family has spent over Rs20 lakhs on the treatments. “I fought against all odds to survive,” said the Malad-based businessman.
Ajmera’s body was riddled with pieces of glass. One of his ribs was damaged. Ajmera managed to walk some distance begging for help. “There were dead bodies all around me and there was no one to help. I remember a taxi driver taking me to some hospitals, only to be turned away as all of them were full. He managed to admit me at GT Hospital near CST,” he said.
“I thank god that I survived, but the years spent at the hospital has ruined my family life,” said Ajmera.
Ajmera was a stock trader, but after the blast, he started a real estate business. “I hardly visit the BSE as I have changed my profession,” said Ajmera.
Like many other terror victims, his grouse is that he got no help from the government.
‘Time doesn’t stop, but we can’t ever forget the incident’
Mumbai: When you walk into the Blue Star Laundry near Century Bazaar in Worli, it is hard to miss the garlanded photograph of former owner Sudesh Bhandari, who was killed in the shop.
While the shop has long been restored and is now run by his brother, Sanjay Bhandari, the photograph is a stark reminder of the day that took the lives of more than 100 people in the area.
“My brother was in the shop with customers when the bomb went off and they were all killed,” said Bhandari, 47, who had not come to work that day. The store, which was a few metres from the blast site, was one of the worst hit in the area.
Six months after the incident, Bhandari restored the shop and business at the shop has continued as usual. “Time doesn’t stop for anyone. But we can never forget the incident,” said Bhandari.
“The blast destroyed everything. We faced a loss of more than Rs. 8 lakh at the time,” said Bhandari.