Thursday, July 13, 2006


Fate… this four letter word has been underestimated, undermined and discredited by many a winner throughout the history of mankind. They say ‘fate’ is an excuse for incompetence, ignorance, failure.

On Tuesday, I got on 17:46 Borivali bound slow-train from Mumbai Central. I had been up since 6 in the morning and had a very tiring day, so I dozed off as soon as the train started to lumber its way forward to my destination.

Fate… these four letters, and these alone can explain what happened next.

Upon nearing Vile Parle Station, I suddenly woke with a jolt. I’d been fast asleep the whole way (something of a 30 minute journey). As I glanced at my watch I noticed that I had a good lot of time on my hands before A would be free from his class to join me at home. I really can’t pin the exact reason down, but for SOME reason I suddenly felt that it would be great to get off at Andheri and buy a LAN port which I’d been meaning to buy for several weeks.

I got up to leave the train and buy that obscure item – regardless of the fact that I am generally a lazy and procrastinating personality. To explain it away, to brush off this strange, nearly paranormal desire to get up and shrug off my sleepiness, I can say that this computer part was only readily available from a shop I know is no more than 10 minutes from the Andheri Station… but that wouldn’t REALLY justify my actions… Fate would be a much better word to use here.

I got off at Andheri station at 18:20 or so.

At 18:40 KS called me from Bangalore and told me about the blasts. KS informed me about another friend of ours who got injured in the Mahim blast. I immediately made my way to A’s parent’s place. By that time phone networks had busted. I was unable to reach A or anyone else. When I reached A’s parent’s home I got the full details of the bombings. It was much later during the night, while watching the continuously recurrent updates regarding the bomb blasts that the TIMINGS of the blasts really struck a chord.

The train I got off from must have reached Jogeshwari (next station) by about 18:24 (it usually takes 3-4 minutes for a train to reach Jogeshwari from Andheri). The blast at Jogeshwari happened at approximately 18:25. I will always wonder if it was the same train and the same bogie that I’d been sitting in not more than 4 minutes ago.

My lifelong doubts in the workings and existence of Fate suddenly came CRASHING down on me. I was shaken and amazed.

Amongst the numerous stories being shown on the news channels, the story of a Goregaon based diamond dealer struck me as a clear work of fate as well. He started for home much earlier than most days and lost his life in the Jogeshwari blast.

My friend who got injured in the Mahim blast is recovering in Sion hospital.

I am still not over all this. As per the latest reports the death toll was at 190 and the injured list at around 650. I think about the families of those 190 people. I think about those injured who have lost an eye or a limb or a leg or some other vital part of their body. I think about the people who were on the tracks till next morning, helping others, clearing the bodies and debris. I think about those parents/spouses who will always fear about the lives of their loved ones who have no option but to travel by the trains. I think about the ‘lifeline’ of Mumbai and I feel the vulnerability of this lifeline. I think about the times I have slept in the train while commuting from Churchgate to Borivali. Would I be able to close my eyes while I am on the train? Would I be even taking a train anymore? Would I be able to prevent a similar thing from happening? Do I have a choice?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it only shows why we shouldn't waste time in trivial things and do something today and not tomorrow. You never know what fate has in store for you.

11:10 AM, July 13, 2006  
Anonymous Shekhar said...

Gosh, that was a close shave!! True, fate is an inevitable and indelible fact of life!! You were MEANT to be away from the blast. Good.

6:23 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Hanuman1960 said...

Definitely Divine Intervention....

9:53 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Prasann said...

Imphal I think it's about paying attention to your instincts and inner voice.

I was quite non-chalant about getting off the ill-fated train till this morning when my fear was confirmed by a report in Mid Day that carried the time of each blasted train. I was on the Jogeshwari Blast train for sure and since then I have been a little disturbed, a lot of thankful to God.

Defenitely Divine Intervention, Hanuman.

12:31 AM, July 14, 2006  

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