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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 July 2006, 17:05 GMT 18:05 UK
Mumbai limps towards normality
By Sanjoy Majumder
BBC News, Mumbai

Santa Cruz station in Mumbai
There are few signs left of Tuesday's carnage

A day after Tuesday's carnage, Mumbai is slowly limping back to life.

Residents of this city of 17 million have taken the first tentative steps towards normality.

From daybreak, hundreds of people began gathering at stations on the city's key Western Railway line, the target of the bombings.

In Bandra, one of the stations hit on Tuesday, the mood is mixed.

The station's tea stalls are open for business and people file in slowly, one eye glancing up at the electronic train schedule board.

It could be any other day during the morning rush hour.

Residents describe the bombings

In the station manager's musty office, railway officials keep tabs on the restored, albeit reduced, service.

"No fast trains today - only the slow trains are running," one official informs me curtly, without looking up from his files.

But appearances can be deceptive.

On any normal day, the station would have been teeming with commuters, jostling to get on board one of the many trains.

And for many, it is more than the usual cursory glance at the newspaper headlines.

Many people pore over the newspapers, which are full of stories, detailed pictures and feverish speculation.

I am very scared. What if it happens again?
Commuter Ashok Kamath

Some point in the distance, trying to piece together the sequence of events and the horrific aftermath.

The remarkable thing, however, is that there is almost no sign left of the attacks.

Overnight, the authorities have removed every trace of wreckage, every bit of debris.

Below the surface

Mumbai's suburban rail system is often described as the city's lifeline and the authorities have been quick to try and restore a semblance of order.

The effort, in part, is to deliver a psychological blow to those behind the attacks.

But despite their best efforts, under the surface there is a definite sense of apprehension.

Injured man lying on bed
Mumbai's medical facilities were overwhelmed with casualties
Ashok Kamath is at Bandra station as he is every day, to board the 0805 to Churchgate, in Mumbai's financial district.

"I wasn't on the train that was attacked but I did see a lot of people with very serious injuries.

"I am very scared. What if it happens again?"

Meena Kakodkar walked home after the train services came to a halt but found the television images of the attack very disturbing.

"So many people died and there were so many blasts in quick succession.

"I am very thankful to God that I am safe. But it is still very frightening."

But for many others in Mumbai, the experience has been even more traumatic.

Grief

Across the city, anxious relatives scan hospital lists looking for their loved ones among the dead and injured.

People at a Mumbai hospital study lists for missing people
People are desperately searching for loved ones

Many people are still missing and information has been sketchy for much of the day.

But as some make an awful discovery the distress is simply too hard to bear.

Chitra Powar is one of them. She has just found out that her brother, Rahul, is one of the many victims.

Missing for much of the night, his name finally turns up at the city's suburban Bhabha hospital.

Breaking into loud sobs, she beats her chest and wails.

Many other relatives, waiting to hear about their own loved ones, rush to her aid, embracing her and stroking her head.

But the instant outpouring of sympathy offers little comfort.

Mumbai has shown in the past that it is resilient in the face of such attacks.

But these latest blasts were designed to maim and kill many.

And it will take some time for the city to recover from the shock.


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