Monday, August 07, 2006

‘Papa is just before me’

Permission to reproduce this article has to be obtained form Hindustan Times

A family discovers the death of an elder member on television

Shevlin Sebastian

“One of our friends saw a clipping on Zee TV at 9 p.m.,” says Dinar Talpade, at his home in Dahisar. “My father looked perfect but she was not sure. She called my home and asked for my dad. My wife, Anjali, said that he had not returned and we were all waiting anxiously. Then she asked, what was the clothes he was wearing that day. Anjali described them to her and the lady started crying and said, ‘Please put on the Zee news immediately.’”
Anjali put on the Zee News and the camera was focused on the face of her father-in-law, who was lying on the Matunga platform. “At the same time, I got through to her and she was shouting, ‘Papa is just before me, Papa is just before me,’” says Dinar.

As he speaks, his face is streaming with tears, the cheeks are red and he is shaking his head from side to side. “I am unable to talk,” he says. “This is such a sudden tragedy. Just a few days ago, he was sitting on this chair and playing with my daughter Aditi and now…”

For several moments he is silent. Anjali, wearing a white salwar kameez, comes and sits on the opposite chair. Dinar, who works in the hotel industry, takes a deep breath and continues the narration: At the same time that Anjali sees her father-in-law on television, the police arrived at their door to inform them about the death. “My father had his senior citizen’s card and his monthly railway pass,” says Dinar. “Because of that, he was identified quickly. I did not have to search for him. Immediately, from my workplace in Juhu, I went to KEM Hospital. And then after all the formalities, we claimed the body, without too much problems.”

Girish Talpade, 66, worked as a custodian with Mega Safe Deposit Vault at Nariman Point. “He was a happy-go-lucky person,” says Dinar, whose mother died four years ago. “On the 9th of July, we celebrated Aditi’s tenth birthday. On Tuesday evening, he was supposed to see the video of the birthday celebrations; he had been unable to see it earlier.”

What do they feel about what has happened? Anjali, who is calmer, says matter-of-factly, “One man loses his life and the repercussions are felt by many people. They have targeted the bread-winners of every family. The families will be suffering so much. Why should they pay? What have they done wrong?”

There are no answers to these questions. Anjali is not finished: “This is not the first time this has happened. And it will happen again. I don’t know how many times it will happen.”
Dinar says, “Ultimately, it is the common man who suffers all the time.”

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