By Prachi Bari, IANS,
Pune : H. Nicolas, the Canadian creative director for a gaming company, had planned to have dinner at the German Bakery the day it was bombed to rubble claiming nine lives. The 36-year-old may be shaken but says he has no intention of quitting Pune – or India.
“It was unsettling when we heard the loud noise,” Nicolas said in an interview, recalling the horror of Saturday evening when a powerful bomb concealed in a backpack went off in the eatery in India’s worst terror attack since the Mumbai massacre of November 2008.
“Imagine, we were planning on going there that night,” he added.
Nicolas came to Pune to stay for two years. Like most foreigners here, he never thought anything like this could ever happen in Pune.
And he’s not going back anytime soon. The chances of another bomb exploding in Pune, he said, were slim. “That means, rationally this city is now safe.”
Two days after the Saturday terror, which left six Indians and three foreigners dead and injured some 60 people, foreigners who live in Pune in large numbers appear determined to stay put in the city.
Most inmates of the landmark Osho ashram, located near the bomb site, are foreigners. Pune is also home to a small army of students from abroad as well as those who have come here to work in multinational companies.
No wonder, the injured belonged to countries as diverse as Sudan, Nepal, Taiwan, Iran and Germany.
Russian Eelyana Younesco, 38, who has visited Pune several times for the Osho retreat, says the bombing will not stop her from coming back to India.
A scientist and a teacher-turned-priest, she feels that what happened at the German Bakery — a favourite with foreigners and young Indians — was not the kind of organised terror one saw in Mumbai in 2008 when Pakistani terrorists went on a killing spree.
“I was just around the corner of the bakery waiting for a friend. When he didn’t show up, I decided to go towards the shops to buy ‘jholas’ (bags). Then I went for my meditation,” Younesco told IANS.
“I heard a loud noise but didn’t realise that it had demolished my favourite bakery. But this attack does not deter me from staying here. I am going to complete my (Osho) course.”
Advertising professional and yoga instructor Katja Staub is a German. She is visiting Pune for the first time. She is not sure if she will come to India again.
“It is a bit difficult to answer whether I would like to be in Pune (after Saturday),” Staub told IANS. “Until Saturday I could have given an easy reply. But today, I will think about extending my stay.
“I was 100 metres away from the bakery when I heard a loud blast. It was deafening but I didn’t pay it so much heed then. It is only later did I realise that I was so close to the explosion.”
After a moment’s pause, however, Staub appeared to change her mind.
“For now I think I will stay back in Pune and complete my trip. I don’t want to give the terrorist the power to change my plans,” Katja ended on a positive note.