Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Bomb blast

No one knows what will happen in the next moment. It can take just a second to change someone’s life and that is what happened to me. Last September, I got ready for another typical day of school. Who would have known that something so fear-provoking would greet me at half past seven in the morning? Obviously, I did not. Otherwise, I would have hid myself beneath my blanket and faked being sick. As it happened, I was completely oblivious.

My uncle picked up speed, as the minutes ticked along and the time for the school gate to close approached, and tried to maneuver the car along the tightly vehicle packed road. My uncle’s driving skills are the only thing that managed to get us on the street on which the school was situated. The car slowed as the familiar brown building came into sight and the atmosphere in the car switched from panicking to relief. Out of nowhere a deafening boom was heard and the ground, the car and the occupants of the car rattled. A tremor overtook my body and shook me from the core. Before we could puzzle out what just happened, a shower of rocks and pebbles pelted the side of the car. Wide-eyed and with different shades of horror on each of our faces we turned our heads towards the direction the rocks had come from. A huge blanket of grey covered the entire horizon. Thick tendrils of smoke snaked in every direction, moving towards us. Through the dense haze of smoke, a man emerged frantically running forward and in a minute or two he disappeared.

Never having faced a bomb attack, we did not know what was going on. It did not even cross our mind that it was a bomb blast; instead we deluded ourselves into thinking that a generator exploded. My uncle, thinking he ought to investigate what had happened, got out of the car. As the smoke cleared, a commotion could be seen. Throngs of people were seen crowding around which made it difficult to see what had happened. After asking nearby bystanders and getting a vague reply, my uncle settled back in the car. A call home was what finally alerted us that we had been victims of a bomb blast. That is when the confusion swept away and terror took its place.

Dazed and horror-struck, we made our way back home. The welcome we got was similar to a nation’s after the soldiers come back from war. Teary-eyed and uttering prayers of gratitude for bringing us home completely unscathed, everyone hugged us tightly. Calls came in asking about us. The reality of the situation finally got me and tears leaked out. A mother and her son passed away and so did several guards – ordinary people, just doing their job by protecting the DSP officer who was the actual target.

A year has gone by but the realization that I could have died in that blast never fails to remind me that no one knows their fate.

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