Sunday, November 3, 2013

Those agonizing moments

Just a few days ago, India woke up to the news of a massive fire disaster, a blazing inferno – a bus on Bangalore-Hyderabad route, in southern part of India, bursting into flames. Though the final number needs to be confirmed, around 40 people including 2 babies have been charred to death. It all occurred when mother earth was getting ready to welcome dawn and the bus was speeding at a high speed 110 kilometers before reaching the destination.

The central locking system of the bus shut itself down and the emergency exits- not the glass ones, could not be broken open. While the fire continue to engulf the bus inside,  inch after inch, foot after foot  propelled by the circulating neon gases through the AC ducts, the luckless passengers, barring a handful seven including the driver could do nothing but kept staring at the inevitable – the death. All their efforts to free themselves went in vain.

What was going through their mind during those horrific moments, dreadful minutes and the terrible hour?

Were all of them awake and conscious to what was approaching them?

They were getting burnt but could do nothing. How were they enduring the pain inflicted by the violent and turbulent flames?

The panic stricken babies were crying on top of their voices. What were the equally frightful mothers doing?

Did the young ones think about their loved ones or the old parents with whom they were planning to spend some time? Probably the mother is still waiting to hear the door knocking having prepared the choicest food the son or daughter liked during the childhood.

Did the old ones feel more helpless not able to get themselves out?

Did the girl by the window think about her would-be husband one last time?

Man and wife - some remained united in death and some others got separated for the life. The husband and the father, in the midst of the plume of black smoke got choked and asphyxiated while a glimpse of the sleeping faces of beloved daughter and wife crossed through if his brain was still alive.

So much of dreams were decimated, so much of possibilities were destroyed and that set of 40 people experienced the traumatic ordeal but not in a position to share.

Did the mother see the baby die before her? Was there a drop of water that trickled down from her eyes to the baby’s neck not being able to do anything to save the baby? How painful was that?

I hear seven lucky people survived from this tragic experience and will someday tell their stories how they returned from near-death situations while the others have lost their chances to the feet of Almighty.

Were they destined? Did they have only that much to live?

We don’t and won’t know the answers from those departed souls.

--Jayanta Tewari


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