Mumbai: In the face of adversity, a survivor of the July 11, 2006 Mumbai serial train blasts did not let his paralysis defeat him as he strived to achieve success and completed the CA course three years after the horrific incident which claimed more than 180 lives.
"We should not stop and rather keep moving, one step at a time," 37-year-old Chartered Accountant Chirag Chauhan, who is dependent on a wheelchair since the incident 17 years ago, told PTI.
Seven blasts occurred at different locations on the Western line of the city's local trains within a span of 15 minutes killing more than 180 people and injuring several others.
Recalling the horror, Chauhan, who was 20 years' old when the incident took place, said he was returning home when a bomb exploded in his train between Khar and Santacruz stations.
Chauhan suffered a spinal cord injury, resulting in a paralysis and he has been dependent on a wheelchair since then.
"I was devastated at that time...my family too...but we decided not to let this affect my future. I have still preserved my last season train pass," he said.
'Never Give Up on Life & Keep Moving', Says Mumbai 7/11 Serial Train Blasts Survivor, Shares Pic of Train Pass | LinkedIn
No grudges against anyone
The survivor said he does not hold grudge against anyone, but only hopes and prays no more innocent lives are lost in such terror attacks.
Chauhan also said he was grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as since 2014, the instances of such terror attacks and bomb blasts have reduced.
Chauhan did not let his condition deter him and he completed his Chartered Accountancy course in 2009. In 2012, he started his own practice and is currently also pursuing a law degree course.
"The message I want to share is, life will throw all kinds of adversities. The road to happiness is paved with adversities for everyone. We all face difficult times in life, but we should not stop and keep moving, one step at a time, you won't realise how far you will reach and grow soon," Chauhan said.
Survivor thanks PM Modi
The survivor said he was grateful to PM Modi as since 2014, the instances of such terror attacks and bomb blasts have reduced.
"Bomb blasts across various places in India were regular occurrences till 2014. I am grateful to our PM Narendra Modi as since 2014, internal security has improved significantly and hardly any civilian life is lost because of terror attacks," Chauhan said.
"Never give up on life, no matter how hard it is. Just do your best in the given circumstances and trust God's will. Life is beautiful, keep living and keep smiling," he said.
Of the 13 persons arrested in the case, a special court in 2015 convicted 12 - five were sentenced to death and the remaining seven to life imprisonment. One of the accused was acquitted.
The Bombay High Court is yet to commence hearing on the confirmation of the death penalties and appeals filed by the convicts challenging their sentence.
"Justice takes time. I am not holding any grudge against anyone. I do not even know who are the accused in the case...who are the real culprits," Chauhan said.