Shyam Patel (right), a recent graduate of Montclair State University, tells his girlfriend, Amina Abdelrahman (left), a story about the summer vacation he will never be able to forget.
It was July 11, 2006. That was the day that my family and I were leaving India, after a spending the summer visiting relatives. We planned on taking the train to the airport, and then flying back home to the United States. It was going to be the last time we saw my aunt, uncle, and cousins for a pretty long time, so we wanted to make sure we got to say our goodbyes.
My uncle was running late on his way home from work, so my parents decided that we would take a later train so we could see him one last time. As I was finishing up packing my bags, I heard a big boom. My parents told me they saw smoke from maybe two or three miles away. The relatives we were staying with lived in a huge, skyscraper-like apartment complex, so I remember immediately going up to the roof to get a better view. While we were on the roof, we heard more blasts and saw people on the streets screaming and running frantically. We went inside and turned on the news in hopes of finding out some information. Finally, my uncle arrived back at home, and my parents once again decided to delay our departure.
My cousin and I, with the natural instincts of thirteen year old boys, thought it would be a good idea to sneak out and explore. I hopped on the back of his bicycle, and we tried to pedal our way around the city. In India, there aren’t any traffic lights, so cars are all over the place. The whole time I was freaking out, not only because there was just a huge bombing, but I also thought I was going to fall off the back of the bicycle and get run over by a car.
Finally, we arrived at the scene. Police were covering up bodies with white sheets, lifting them on stretchers, and stacking them on top of each other. It was extremely gorey. After walking around the train station for a while, we left. We later found out that the train that was bombed was the exact train that we planned on taking. My family ended up waiting another four days before actually leaving, just in case.
Since I was so young when this happened, I never really thought too much about it. Only recently have I learned that this bombing was a terrorist attack. If my uncle wasn’t running late from work that day, we would’ve been on that train, and most likely dead.
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