Abhinav Saxena bio photo

Abhinav Saxena

a body of clay, a mind full of play, a moment's life - that is me

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It was the last day of our comprehensive examination aka compri - a regular winter day, but I woke up a bit nervous. It was my first year at college, and I had not done as well as my expectations. Even getting a ‘B’ in ThermoD looked difficult, and though I had worked hard, I still had not developed my intuition around it.

I was also away from home for the past four and a half months and was leaving today for home. This was the longest I had stayed away from home and I wanted to get out of this place as soon as possible.

I relaxed a bit during the exam and concentrated to solve the question paper. When I came out of the examination hall, I was relieved - semester was finally over and I had to run to catch a bus to Delhi. I had a train to catch from Delhi for Bhopal, my hometown.

I don’t recall much about the bus journey except I was missing home-made Khichdi which I had not eaten all of these months. When we reached Delhi, I noticed there were blockages and police everywhere, but considered it to be normal for the city where Prime Minister and President of the country live.

Though these blockages did cause a delay, I reached New Delhi Railway Station around 8:30 PM, had dinner and occupied my seat in the sleeper coach of Karnataka Express. I didn’t sleep the whole night, I was sitting lost in my thoughts. The train reached Bhopal at 7:00 AM, and my father was there to pick me up.

I was expecting a warm welcome, but he was sort of anxious. He relaxed a bit on seeing me, however, he still asked a bit strongly that why I hadn’t called home after reaching Delhi. I couldn’t understand why he was angry. I didn’t get any time in Delhi, and my family was used to me not calling. STD PCO in my college was a bit far from my hostel room, I hardly had anything to say and anyway, calls were very costly for me.

He had brought a newspaper with him and gave it to me to read.

The headline said “Parliament Attacked”.

I was in Delhi on that fateful day and the day was 13 December 2001