Terrified. He was. He looked around. Only smoke. No voices. No movement. No life. Am I in hell, he thought. His pulse raced. Searing hot pain kept him down. Resting on his shoulder, he tried to get up. Stabbing pain shot through his body. Agony. To the maximum. The air was filled with the smell of blood and bile. A hot liquid formed a pool drenching his clothes. A pool of blood. His own.
Voices. No, not voices, shouts, screams, cries. Of people. Injured. Of people. In agony. Of people.Who saw blood for the first time. Of people. Who saw hundreds of limbs scattered around. Of children. Crying. Trying to find their mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters. Of news reporters. Trying to find their breakthrough report. Of cars. Of ambulances. Of fire brigades. Of people. Panicked.
But he heard none. His hearing was damaged beyond repair. The pain was unbearable. He dragged his useless body with his hands. Crawling. Stumbling across rubble. Every time he called out, blood gushed out of his throat. The smoke started to clear. But he still couldn’t see. He didn’t know what happened. His head demanded answers. But who was going to answer them? He looked down to his feet or rather the place where his feet used to be. The flesh had turned black and was oozing a black coloured liquid. Not that it mattered. He had to find his daughter. His seven year old darling. His ‘jhoomar’ as he fondly called her.
He called out again. Sputtering blood. Everywhere. Along with his feet, a part of his lower torso was also gone. Good I had an empty stomach, he mused to himself. “jhoomar!!” No response.
Strong hands gripped him. A stretcher was brought out. He was carried away and his incoherent cries of jhoomar were dismissed as cries of agony. There was nothing left in him. The body drained of blood. Half his flesh burnt. And limbs were a mess of things. There was nothing left in him….except one. The desire to see his daughter alive. To see her safe and in good hands. “jhoomar!”
He looked around to see countless bodies around him in similar or worse conditions.
He calmed himself down. His hands grew cold and blue and he took more than ten minutes to get his wallet out. He took a picture of jhoomar and looked at it for a long time. It was taken in goa when they had gone for their first outing. The sky grew dark, clouds gathered and rain fell, washing the blood of some faces and the sins of others.
It was as if mother nature was crying. The water mixed with blood to form small rivulets.
The blood from people belonging to various castes and religions, from old- young ,men –women, from people who were just having a casual day at karol baug, a few moments ago.
Moments later, a young scout came to the very place with a young girl. The girl was asked to identify her father among the endless bodies lying around. She didn’t take much time. Her picture was lying on a man’s chest. His lower abdomen was severed and he had no feet. But his face bore an expression of peace and calamity. As the rain fell, so did her tears. Not that the body would recognize the tears from the rain, but his soul must have, she hoped.
100 miles away, in a two room apartment, a frightened, pale young man switched on the news.
“….wild spread chaos….hundreds killed…thousands injured….no one claims responsibility….the terrorists’ reign continues…this is anjali sharma reporting from…”
He switched it off. Opened the closet. Saw his prized collection. Loaded it. And held it to his head. There was no hesitation. A pool of blood. Again. His own.
Two blocks away, another man was watching the same news. He smiled. It couldn’t have been better, he thought.
The phone rang.
”he killed himself. I think he couldn’t take it. He committed….”
“forget it. Good that he did it himself. I didn’t want any more bloodbath among us.
He did a wonderful job. No one else could have engineered the blast so well. But he was a weakling. A genius but a weakling. ”