Memories come back

Posted: February 20, 2007 in 1993, black friday, blasts, bombay, memories

I already shared my views about the movie, Black Friday.

Besides my feelings about the movie per se, the film also brought back personal memories, of that Black Friday, in the life of Mumbai.

While exact details are sketchy now, I remember driving down from Mahim towards my office in Dadar, that afternoon. As I neared Kohinoor Mills and the Sena Bhavan, I saw some really dark black smoke at a distance. As I neared the place, I saw lots of people rushing towards the location. People coming out in large numbers from the Kohinoor Mills and running towards Sena Bhavan, from where the smoke was coming. At that time, I thought this must be some gas cyliner explosion or something like that. I could not imagine anything beyond that.

It was only later that we realised that there had been a huge bomb blast there, some minutes back.

Ordinarily I would have been going on that very road, ahead (i.e. Gokhale Road), but with all the confusion there, I could not go straight, and turned left instead, towards Plaza.

I passed Plaza and reached my office on Ranade Road, at Dadar West. Just a few minutes after I reached the office, I could hear a huge sound. Detailed news of the blasts happening in the city had not quite floated in till then, and we were wondering about the noise. Covered by buildings around us, we did not have the vision to the Plaza theatre or even the sky above, so we did not have any indication of what had happened.

It was only later that the news filtered in, conveying the bomb blast at the Plaza theatre too.

It was much later that my own good fortune sank in. If I had been 10 minutes earlier than I was, I might have been passing the Sena Bhavan building where the bomb blast took place, just at the time of the blast. And if I had been 10 minutes further late, I might have passed the Plaza cinema, just around the time when that blast took place. I missed both of these by a bit. God had been kind to me.

But as I saw the vivid pictures in Black Friday, I realised what kind of damage happened, and how 100s of others had not been quite as fottunate as I was. Yes, the memories came back, the panic that we all lived with, the thoughts that if these could happen, can more happen too? Soon? When will the next strike be?

The movie appears to be giving a fairly accurate representation of what transpired. And if that is to be believed, then we have to thank our police forces (inspire of the corruption and the general decay that appears to have happened there) for having brought the large part of the criminals to book, for having reasonably restored our confidence in the city etc.

Having said that, are we really safe at all? Can someone do it again? We have had our share of train bombings and the like in recent days… are these the cost of living in these times and from which there is no escape, no matter where you are??

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