That particular afternoon, I was busy trying to understand the classification of animals – their Class, their Phylum etc. I just needed to hang on to this information for another 20 hours. The next day at the same time, I would have finished the last exam of my H.S.C Examinations (also called Pre-Degree or Plus-2 in Kerala, and probably many other names across India). After that, it would be pure, unadulterated freedom. All this only till the exam results come out, following which hell was sure to break lose at home.

I sat at my table, attempting to digest the differences between animals of Phylum Annelida & Phylum Arthropoda, when the ringing of the phone woke me from my crustacean dreams. It was Bhanu uncle, who worked with a company in Andheri. He asked me whether I had heard of it already.

Heard of what ?”
You haven’t heard of it then ! They say that bombs have gone off at three places in the city, including at the Bombay Stock Exchange
What! Oh

Now, this was a time when the satelite TV boom had just started in India. The boom had begun with CNN & its almost-live coverage of the war then going on in Iraq. So, back then, there weren’t three dozen Indian news channels spurting out the same news every hour in ten different languages. The only places to get live news about anything in India were still Doordarshan & All India Radio.

I turned on the TV. And sure, something was happening in the city. There was news trickling in, of various stories & rumours – about bomb blasts in various parts of Bombay (as it was called then)

I quickly called Brijesh, my class-mate & study-mate. He said he was about to call me. His father had called him with this news. His father worked in a building right next to the Air-India building at Nariman Point. Sitting in his office, Brijesh’s father had ‘felt’ the blast that had happened in the Air-India tower’s basement garage. The glass on their building had vibrated, and some panes had cracked.

By evening it had emerged that around 13 bombs had exploded in the city, all within a span of two hours. Scores of people dead, property worth millions damaged. And the whole city in a state of shock.

All that happened exactly 14 years ago, on this very date – the 12th of March.

Even after 14 years, that ‘Black Friday’ has left its scar on thousands of people. Scars that are not just physical, but a lot many mental scars too. So many sons, daughters, wives, husbands, siblings, parents lost that day. So many dreams blown away in a few seconds, by the dirty deeds of a handful of terrorists.

And, even after all these years, the judicial proceedings against the accused are still going on. Nobody has been punished, while the main perpetrators have evaded the arm of the law & long ago flown off to safety.

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