It is just a couple of hours after twin blasts rocked platform nine of the Central Station. The area in front of the two coaches where the bombs went off still sports the cordon tape. But the platform is in veritable mayhem, pounded by hundreds of restless feet where a pool of blood had spread across the ground. Wailing children, women steering their luggage, cameramen climbing up on temporary platforms, policemen, police dogs, all struggling in the sweat and heat for some precious breathing space.
Sharmistha, a passenger bound for Howrah, is anxiously waiting to climb back into her coach, next to one of the coaches that saw the blast. “We are bound for a family function. If the train is kept stranded here we will miss it. On this train we have seen stone pelting and derailment and what not. All we want is for the train to just go on,” she says.
In the general compartments, most passengers had not heard the blast. They came to know about it only from passengers running on the platform. The compartment is packed from top to bottom with sweating men and boys. Ask them if they feel uncomfortable travelling in a train that saw a blast a few hours back and pat comes the reply, “We have been waiting here for four hours. We just want the train to move. What can we do if there was a blast? People have to get on with their lives,” from Muchiram Das, a casual labourer from Bangalore who is going to his home town in Kharagpur. In the lobby of Central station, the mood is no different. Many people can be seen lying on the floor having a nap or browsing newspapers.
But impatient as they may be to get back to their journeys, fear is not far away, say some. Gita Kumari, who works at a textile shop in Bangalore, says. “There is fear, but police are checking the train so it feels better now. No one has even eaten anything today. We just want to get back to our journey.”