For almost a year, Shaukat Khan has somehow managed to bury deep into the recess of his memory the horror that struck his family in February last year. That’s when his brother-in-law Hasnain Warekar killed 14 members of his family including Shaukat’s wife and three children. However, an innocuous phone call touches a raw nerve. It is a call from a tutorial class wanting to know if he would be interested in enrolling his three children for class. Khan says he is not keen but cannot bring himself to say that his children are now no more.
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“The classes get details of children from schools. That is how they must have got my number. My three children were in school,” he says betraying no emotion. Lines forming on his forehead, he says, “With these things, it becomes difficult to forget what happened.”
The sleepy village of Kasarwadavli off the Ghodbunder Road in Thane had woken up to reports on the morning of February 28, that Hasnain Warekar (35), who handled accounts for companies in the past, had slit the throats of 14 members of his family before committing suicide by hanging himself atop the stairs in the single storeyed bungalow where he lived with his family.
He killed his wife, parents, sisters, seven children including his own three-month-old daughter as well. The police said the only survivor, his sister Subiya who suffered cuts to her throat told them that Warekar had been under a heavy debt burden and they had also come to know that he had been allegedly molesting one of their sisters who suffered from a mental ailment.
Police believe that the fear of losing face in a community that looked upto him could be one of the reasons for the murders. Nearly a year after the incident, the Thane police is, however, yet to formally file an abated summary report citing the reason for the murder spree.
With 14 members of the family wiped out in one go, those who survived are struggling to leave the tragedy behind them. The worst has been the case of Subiya, who lost her four-month-old daughter, seeing her brother kill her daughter, her two sisters, brother, parents, nieces and nephews.
“Apart from her husband, she has lost everyone. A loss of this proportion takes time to heal. In the initial months, she would just keep crying. As a result, her throat that had over 20 stitches would swell every time,” a relative said. “At some point, we would tell other relatives who came to meet her to not ask her about the fateful night. It was best that we forgot about it. In the past few months we can say she has come a long way. She is also pregnant and more focused on the future,” he said.
Shaukat has also started thinking about his future as a way to get on with things and tide over the incident. “I am already over 40 years old now. Sometimes I think I should get married so that I can get over the loneliness after the death of my wife and three kids. But I also want to be sure that I am in a position to handle the responsibilities of marriage.”
Arfat Fakki, the other brother-in-law who also lost his wife and two sons in the incident has also had the prospect of marrying again put forth by his family. A relative said, “Arfat is in his early 30s and still has time on his hands. All of them are looking for things that would give them a reason to carry on in the face of such a loss.”
Summing up his emotions, Shaukat said, “Earlier, I was grieving but then after a point, I realised there was nothing to come out of it. Sometimes when I get up in the morning, just for a few moments I wonder if all the terrible things that happened were just a dream. Then I wake up only to come face to face with the cruel reality of my life.”