“I’ve always been a homemaker while my husband worked at the railway station. We were very content with our lives— I was very happy raising my two daughters at home and he used to love his job. Suddenly one year, I fell really ill and I was hospitalised for a couple of months when we faced some difficulty managing everything, so my husband called his mother from our village to look after me here. After a few months when I recovered and my mother in law was leaving to return to Patna my husband went alone to drop her off at the station, sometime around 9PM. I was sleeping when my sister in-law called me around 10 PM, told me about the attacks and said my husband wasn’t answering his phone. I rushed down to the PCO to call him and after trying many times someone finally picked up and said, ‘the person who’s phone this is, is dead… come claim the body’ and I was shattered. I had no idea what to do or where to go, so I sat down on the floor and cried.
It took me many months to recover — from seeing his body to realising that I had lost my partner forever. As time went by, I pulled myself together — I had to. I had two daughters who had their whole lives in front of them and I had to make sure that I did everything I could to educate them better. I received compensation from the government which I used for their education and to take care of the house and my mother. I was also offered a job from the railway, but since I had only studied until the 8th grade, I couldn’t get a job that paid me half as well, but I took it anyway. I wanted to set a better example for my daughters, so after a few months I decided to join school again. Those days were absolutely crazy, from preparing food for my daughters, dropping them to school, going to work, coming home, cooking dinner, doing my homework and rushing to night school at 7 PM…I have no idea where the strength came from! I just loved that I was educating myself to never feel helpless again — I finally passed my 10th grade exam and am on my way to clearing my 12th and through this time I got my promotion as well!
I know my husband would have been proud of me…of us — my daughters are doing so well at school. Sometimes, life takes people away…I still sometimes question why 26/11 had to ever happen, but the only way to fight back is to not give up. Every year, that day marks the death anniversary of my partner, but it also remains the day I became independent, where I didn’t succumb to the terror but used the pain to make my girls and me stronger.”