Four days ago, M L Meena was on a morning walk at Delhi Government Officers’ Flats when he met his neighbour, Jayant Andraskar, a 38-year-old lecturer at Pusa Institute of Technology. “He was with his wife and two daughters. It was around 5 am and they were carrying luggage. He told me that he was taking his family on a vacation to Kashmir. With excitement in his voice, he said that they would visit Srinagar, Gulmarg,” says Meena.
On Sunday, Andraskar, his wife Manisha Andraskar, their six-year-old daughter Jahnavi and four-year-old daughter Anagha, and their tour guide Mukhtar Ahmad, were among the seven people who were killed in Gulmarg when the ropeway of the cable car snapped, and one of the cars crashed hundreds of feet to the ground.
Hours after the incident, in North Delhi’s Shalimar Bagh area, policemen, media persons and neighbours thronged B2/209, the Andraskar’s second floor flat. At least three rolled, dusty newspapers lay on the steps leading to the locked gate of the flat. On the right side of the flat, potted plants, partially covered a yellow tricycle, was parked next to an air conditioner.
“His youngest child, Anagha, was four. She had started attending a private school here just a couple of months ago. His elder daughter, Jahnavi, was studying at another private school here. She was six. While his wife had a degree in architecture, she was a homemaker,” said, Neeraj Meena who lives in the same block at Delhi government officers’ residential Flats in Shalimar Bagh.
Residents said while the housing complex which has around 156 flats for Class I government employees came up around five years ago, the Andraskar family moved to the society six months after its construction. On Sunday evening, no family members of the victims’ had reached the residence.
“They are originally from Nagpur and only the couple and their two daughters used to live here. We have informed their relatives and we hear that the body is going to be brought to Delhi tomorrow morning. What has happened to the family is very unfortunate. He was a very soft-spoken individual. No one would can predict when and how a life gets cut short,” said another neighbour, Rajesh Kumar Sangwan.