It was meant to be a weekend outing after school hours. And like social media-friendly teenagers, some of the students on board had shared pictures of the ferry ride with their friends on Facebook on Saturday afternoon — minutes later, their boat capsized off Parnaka beach in Dahanu. “A friend sent some pictures on board the ferry. I had seen the pictures, and now I can’t believe that three of my friends are dead. There were more students on the boat than its capacity,” said Pragati Madia, a classmate of the three students from Ambedkar Nagar in Dahanu who died in the mishap.
The girls — Sanskruti Mayavanshi, Sonal Surati and Jahnavi Surati — were classmates and neighbours. While Sonal and Sanskruti lived across the road from each other, Jahnavi lived a few metres away.
In the evening, a stream of villagers came by to pay their respects at their shanty; Sanskruti’s father Suryakant Mayavanshi was inconsolable. The victim’s mother, older sister and younger brother wept beside her body.
“She was the last one to be found. Of the Mayavanshis’ three children, she was the younger daughter. She was in Class XI,” said Chandan Mayavanshi, Sanskruti’s uncle. Across the road, Sonal’s two sisters held each other as they wept in a two-room settlement. Sonal was the youngest. “The boat service had started only a week ago. Now we hear that it was illegal,” said Dheeraj Surati, Jahnavi’s uncle.
As the three bodies were taken for the funeral, almost the entire village accompanied them, nearly each pair of eyes moist. There were many who had seen the three grow up. “Most people in this village are related. I had seen them grow up, said a neighbour. In a house just two lanes from the village square, Karina Mayavanshi was trying her best to come to terms with what had happened. She was on board the ferry when it capsized. She was rescued. Three of her friends died. There were seven children from the village on the boat that capsized.