It was action in the time of crisis. Devna Pani, 20, a fashion designer who works with a Nariman Point fashion studio, jumped out of one of the bombed trains on Tuesday while it was still in motion. From a smoke-swept, mangled train, she called up her father—noted film director Uday Shankar Pani—who instructed her to jump off the train.
“I can’t concentrate. The sound of the three blasts are echoing in my ears,” said Pani. She could not eat or sleep properly since.
“I had boarded the 5.57pm fast train from Churchgate after work. I was listening to an FM channel. As soon as the train crossed Mahim, I heard three deafening explosions. I thought some shrapnel are piercing my eardrums. Smoke billowed from the other compartment and our place got dark. I saw dismembered limbs on the tracks. It was the most horrible sight I have ever come across,” recalled Pani.
Pani tried to call up her parents from her cell. “Phone lines were jammed. Finally, I managed to speak to my father,” she said.
“She asked me what to do. I said jump. She jumped out and fortunately landed on Bandra platform as the train had crawled into the station,” said Uday Shankar, adding,
“Although her elder sister Bhavna got selected for the prestigious Broadway Musical and is leaving for Europe next week, Devna did not celebrate. She was reclusive even at our wedding anniversary dinner on Friday.”
On Tuesday, a Gujarati couple had brought a shocked Pani home in the car. But a day after, Pani, like many Mumbaikars, was back in the train. “I sometimes feel scared, but I have a career. One has to have guts,” she said.