“I fought with my son. He did not want to go and clean garbage. I kept pestering him to earn for the family, and all he wanted was to stay at home for one day. I should not have forced him to go,” Kesar Jahan, the mother of the two men who died Sunday, said.
Her husband, the only one to have survived the ordeal, broke into a soft cry, muttering under his breath. “He has not been the same since the incident. Doctors say he is in shock. He lost both sons right in front of him,” said Mohammad Miraj, a relative.
Jahan broke into a wail every few minutes, cursing the fact that she sent her children to their deaths.
“Jahangir did not want to go. He used to drive an e-rickshaw in Seemapuri. I had pleaded with both my sons to go. My husband never used masks and gloves to clean clogged drains. I never thought they would need it, now look what happened,” she said.
Yusuf, who married Jahan after a failed first marriage, has been cleaning clogged drains and garbage in Anand Vihar for the past eight years.
“Both boys would also clean drains and come back, never talking about what they did. Do you think a poor man can dream about a career? No, he does what he is born into,” said Abdul Hassan, a relative.
After she heard of Jahangir’s fate, Jahan rushed to the hospital and waited for her younger son, Izaz. “She looked on as he died in front of the family. He must have died within minutes, but it felt like ages,” Hassan said.