3 pm IST, Thursday November 27, at St George's Hospital in Southern Mumbai, the dried blood was ubiquitous: blood-soaked hospital beds, blood-soaked gurneys, blood-soaked clothes and linen, discarded latex gloves stained red, and bloodied handprints were just about everywhere.
The air was rank with antiseptics and death.
Aides outside the clinic were sitting by themselves, heads in hands. They seemed not just physically exhausted from the lack of sleep, but also mentally and emotionally spent.
Inside the clinic's crowded lobby, the four dead bodies on the floor looked strangely peaceful, like children in the midst of deep, restful sleep. Except that whole pools of dried blood lay beneath them, spreading out in a giant circle. It was difficult to tell where the rust-red dried blood stains gave way to rust-red dried paan (beetlenut) spit, so thoroughly had the blood soaked the floor and splashed the walls.
One of the dead men, shot in the stomach and chest, looked back at me, his open eyes vacant and calm, giving no hint of the certain horror they'd seen in the hours before. Another was slumped on his side, his back to me; his shirt had been removed, revealing some truly ghastly bullet wounds that appeared to have run dry.
In this photo: A police officer and others scan a board where casualties were written, St George's Hospital, South Mumbai
Text: Matthew Schneeberger
Photograph: Reuben N V
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