The Story of a Train Passenger

Received this email from a colleague of mine whose friend narrated his experience on one of the trains on which a bomb went off during the deadly Mumbai bomb blasts of Tuesday.

It goes as follows:

“STUNNED” – Mumbai Mirror.
“7 BLASTS ROCK MUMBAI”- Yahoo! headlines.

Which editor wrote these lines? Which abysmal mother f@#ker had the guts to talk about my motherland, MY CITY being stunned!!! I was there. I was on the train, in the hospital and on the streets and I didn’t see Stunned. I saw Stunning…stunning acts of kindness. And nothing rocked Mumbai. No self respecting Mumbaikar can believe that. No. Its not ‘blasts rock Mumbai’ cause Mumbai rocked, man. She simply ROCKED.

Here is my story.

For those who came in late…I have started working in a tutoring firm at Andheri. So it’s the night shift for me since the students are based in the States. So there I was standing at Dadar station. Waiting for the Borivili fast. She came bang on time. After the normal physical exercise routine (in other cities they call this ‘boarding a train’…we Mumbaikars know better:):):)) I got in. The train started. Next stop Bandra…Lots of people got in…some tried to get out:). After the usual round of expletives, shouting and ‘chod do na yaar…are maramari mat karo’ (forget about it, man…don’t fight guys) the train started.


My first impression was that the overhead wire that supplies current to the train’s engine had snapped. There had been a flash like a yellow light and then the lights went out. People started panicking. I don’t know why but at such times I have the tendency to restore calm….a very close friend had once called this habit…tere mein kida kam nahi hain..(can’t translate this one) Neways, I roared out that people should calm down. Miraculously, they did. Someone asked for the chain to be pulled but by then the motorman had pushed the breaks. I jumped out of the train like the rest of the commuters and saw that the first class compartment ahead of us had blown up. I moved towards the compartment. People had already started pulling others out. Lots of guys had climbed the harbour line bridge that starts near Bandra station. Slowly, the injured started emerging. The first guy whose hand I held was merely stunned. Didn’t have any money left…wallet gone I think. I gave him twenty bucks and he went his way. As I turned towards the train, I saw a guy with lots of blood on his face…thankfully none of it was his. He had temporarily lost his sense of hearing. Walked with him a lil distance. Bandra station was a stone?s throw away from the blown-up compartment. He recovered soon and some one took him to the station. I turned and saw four guys carrying a fifth. The injured man was alive but i think, his hand would have to be amputated. A big guy was holding the patient’s right shoulder was shouting for some one to steady the man’s head which had no support. With nothing else to do, I stepped in.

We took him to Bhaba hospital, Bandra. While the journey up till the auto rickshaw was tough the journey till the hospital was an eye opener. Carrying a 90 kilo man over the railway tracks, then over a 2 foot incline near the tracks, then over a railing and through the jam caused by the numerous autos which were ferrying patients to the hospital was tough even when four of us were carrying him. We reached the main road outside the station and got into the auto. The big saand (strong-guy), who had earlier called me for help, literally dragged a fellow who had hired the auto out and we got ourselves in. The big guy was sitting with the auto driver and I along with two others was holding the injuired man on our laps.

Then the most beautiful thing happened. The guy to my right told the one to my left to start reciting verses from the Koran and to blow on the man’s head. I think it is some Muslim prayer. The big guy said, “Oh Lord! Have Mercy on this man!” A few minutes later that injured man who was half awake all this time started saying “shiv shiv shiv…om namah shivay…om namah shivay.”

When I think back about that moment I smile to myself. We six of us in that small auto heading towards the hospital had done it. We had defeated the terrorists. Who can say we were stunned…we won guys. We won. We defeated the terrorists’ plan by that simple act of helping a fellow INDIAN. We didn’t have to invade Pak or kill Muslims. We had won. Of course we could have lost if the 2 Muslims had walked away from the man knowing that he was Hindu but they didn’t. They continued working with me at the hospital for nearly an hour transporting bodies to the morgue, taking patients to the upper floors and providing a lil water to the other impromptu volunteers. Going towards the office after all this was over, was probably the stupidest thing I ever did but that gave me the chance to see the City become one. Guys in designer tees, shorts etc. were flooding out of their houses with water bottles. The rick I used was stopped in 4 places…two places for others to get in (the driver lied saying we were going to parel.) and at two others, hands full of Parle-G biscuits were thrust in so that we and the thousands of others like us who had been affected by the Western railway system being shut down could have something to eat. The over crowded buses were being given food and water at some signals with people throwing biscuit packets into the bus…even good old Bourbon biscuit…yummy 🙂 🙂 🙂

All in all a lot happened yesterday but my city didn’t budge. We have been hit before, we have been hit yesterday and we will continue to get attacked. The only thing to do is to come together. “Together as One”. For that is what the terrorists don’t want to see. They don’t realise that the more they attack us, the closer we become. We can’t let ourselves go down so we can’t give up.

You may think what I did was pretty heroic…it was may be…but I like so many others wouldn’t like to be called heroes. It feels very uncomfortable. If you want to give us a name just call us Mumbaikars. That name is all-inclusive.

Ishan I. Bhole.

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  1. Hi Ishan,

    Wonderful….this is the spirit each one of us (Indians) should have. I and many of my friends here in USA have read this story and are thrilled about this incident you have undergone and seen. You are right \”MUMBAI ROCKS\”…and not the BLASTS.
    I also admire the way you have expressed this in words, thanks to my friend who sent me this link.

    Please let me know whenever you post.


  2. Hello Richard,

    Well, this isn’t my story but the story of a passenger on the train.

    Glad to know you are spreading the word about the story 🙂

    My blog is updated very regularly. Do keep reading.

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