In one of the families struck by tragedy in Malin, only two brothers are left alive. 45-year-old Dilip Lembhe and 30-year-old Govind Lembhe are the only surviving members of a family of ten.
The lives of both were turned completely upside down. Govind lost his wife and has no children, while Dilip lost all six of his daughters — the youngest being eight years old and the oldest, 19 years old. His only son also perished in the mishap. Both Govind and Dilip lost their wives and mother. Their father had died a few years ago.
As Govind describes the worst day in their life, Dilip is in shock. Unable to utter a word, he walks away, perhaps in the direction of the crematorium, where seven families have been cremated in the past six days.
Govind waits for three more bodies to be recovered. “The body of our mother and of a nephew and niece are yet to be recovered even after six days. We have been coming here everyday,” he says.
Govind names the dead children of the family — Manda (19), Reshma (17), Dolly (15), Mangal (13), Savita (11), Santosh (9) and Meera (7). “Of the seven children, six were in school. The eldest one had quit school after class X. Next year, she was going to be married. We were searching for a groom for her,” he says.
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“All the children used to call me Nana in fondness. The youngest one used to like chocolates, which I used to buy from a nearby village. Now who will call me Nana?”
Govind says he had married two years ago. “My wife and I had been working very hard on our farm. We had planned to emulate other farmers in the area who were getting good yield from their farm. Now, all my dreams have been destroyed. I loved my wife very much and she also admired my hard work in the farm. In fact, she always used to tell me to take rest and not work relentlessly in the farm lest
I fall sick,” he said, adding that his mother was a “very good cook” and always pestered both of them to eat more food.
On that fateful day, said Govind, both he and his brother had gone to their respective farms early in the morning.
“When we returned it was all over for us. We just could not believe, could not do anything, but watch helplessly. Everything had been flattened. Almost the entire village had disappeared in the rain of stones and slush,” he said.
Govind says all the seven children had woken up at around seven that morning. “They were playing in the house and pulling each other’s legs. They all seemed to be happy and enjoying each other’s company when we brothers left the house at around 7.15,” he says.
“All of them were exuberant and were never found sitting idle. Either they would laugh at some shared joke and playfully tussle. The atmosphere in our house was always full of life. Now, we are only talking of death. We have cremated seven members of our family and are now awaiting recovery of three more bodies,” said Govind, adding that both he and his brothers spend their time roaming cluelessly and aimlessly. “We do not know what wrong we had done to face this. Why should we live now?”