Should I describe it as hideous or as terrifying?
It was both combined.
In my 25 years’ career, it was the most horrible and shocking accident I had ever seen.
That fateful day, at Bahanaga Railway Station ,the Coromondal Express train’s collision with a goods train made boggies derailed, and at the same time another incoming passenger train entered the accident site hitting the coaches with force,imagine the devastation! Mangled heap of coaches, bodies lying all around, created a grotesque sight.Blood and blood every where and the sultry heat exacerbated the problem further.
I, as the head of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force reached there first along with my team.By that time the local people had already started the rescuing work.Kudos to their voluntary endeavour.Their humanity and care was praisworthy.
On the second day, to manage the bereaved mob at the Bahanaga School complex, temporarily turned into a morgue, was really a challenging task for me and the team. Many bodies were there and the crowd was impatient to identify their lost ones. It was quite tough and at the same time quite emotional to handle such a situation.
One man around 60 was wailing high-pitched, hitting his chest with both his hands. I went to him to pacify. His crying became louder. “Sir, there lies my only son. Why did he come by that train? He brought the choicest mangoes and told he would take them to his sister at Cuttack. For his sister he died sir. Hai re kismet!”
Then he fell at my feet, “sir where is my grand son?he is 10 years old, between his sobs he was saying nalayak, he insisted upon going to his bua’s house along with his father. ” I was taken aback. There was no child’s body there. Hmm,a missing case.
The elderly man’s name was Shankar Singh and the grandson’s Abir Singh.I clicked a photo of the child from Sankar’s mobile and assured him to find the boy.
“I beg of you sir. Find him out and save my vansh.
I sent the photo of Abir to all the hospitals.
On the third day a phone call came from Baleswar hospital about the child being there .He had some bruises only and no major injury. I drove there with Shankar Singh ,the man from Patna, doing business and settled at Kolkata.
How I wished it was the only missing case!
But game of luck. It was not to happen.
There were hundreds of cases that day and we were overwhelmed by their tearful stories.Mothers,wives ,sisters and brothers, they all waited for their loved ones.
At the Baleswar hospital, the reunion of the grand father and his inheritor, his hope of life, brought tears on everyone’s eyes. Shanker held the child tightly to his chest, kissing all over his face. He had got his world then and there.
The borrowed word kismet is from Turkish, an Arabic word and is used in Hindi and Urdu.
Hai re kismet-my bad luck