When Yogesh Kumar met his sister Rekha in the burns ICU of Safdarjung Hospital on Thursday, he could barely recognise her.
“Her ears, nose, cheeks and lips were charred. Her face was swollen beyond recognition,” said Kumar.
In the early hours of Tuesday, the house in which Rekha lived, with her husband Jitender and their two children, was set on fire.
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While the two children were killed in the fire, Rekha suffered nearly 30 per cent burns.
She is currently in a critical but stable condition, said doctors, adding that she had suffered high-intensity thermal burns in her lower face and upper body.
On Thursday, when Kumar met his sister, “she was crying constantly and asking for her children..she asked if they had had their milk”.
Kumar was bewildered at Rekha’s questions about her children. The day before, a family member had blurted out the news of their death in front of his sister.
“What could I tell her? It hurt her to talk, and she only asked about her children… I could not put her through any more pain,” he said. So he told Rekha that her children were in the ICU and they had had their milk.
His sister, the youngest among five siblings, was also the most pampered one, said Kumar.
“She was the youngest and the most pampered. She used to play on my lap… I helped her take her first steps and ride her first cycle. It breaks my heart to see my little sister in this condition,” he said.
But the pampered Rekha, who as a child often threw tauntrums when she didn’t get what she wanted, “grew up” once she became a mother, said Kumar.
“Her children were her entire world. She dreamt that one day, her daughter would become a great doctor. She said her son was too naughty to study,” he said.
Authorities have already recorded Rekha’s statement twice, claimed her family members.
“We requested them that one of us should be allowed to be with her. She is in so much pain and shock, we did not want her to go through the ordeal of narrating her story alone. But we were told only her husband would be allowed to be there,” said Kumar.
Rekha’s husband Jitender has not come to the hospital to visit his wife yet. “Look at his condition. He is barely holding it together, he has not managed to come and visit her till now,” said Kumar.