January 21, 2009 1:00:32 am
Slain cops wife refuses to leave the house she once shared with her husband
In the verandah outside Vijay Khandekars house in Nagpada Motor Vehicles department quarters,four-year-old Samruddhi shrieks at the top of her voice bullying children twice her age. The other children scurry around while little Samruddhi tries to balance a balloon on her head. Like all houses in police colonies,Khandekars house is quite small,with just a kitchen and another room with a shelf holding pictures of the martyred cop. Khandekar was killed on November 26 fighting terrorists at the Cama Hospital.
Samruddhi is too small to comprehend the situation. She still asks me when her father will come back and I keep telling her that he is at work. This usually brings a question from her about why he works so hard and why he cant meet her nowadays, says Vijays wife Shraddha with tears in her eyes. Samruddhi gives a puzzled look to her weeping mother and unable to understand her tears she runs out to play with her friends.
Despite the size of the house,Shraddha does not wish to leave the place. Samruddhi is in junior KG. She studies at St Agnes School which is at walking distance from our house. It makes more sense for us to stay here instead of shifting to some other house. Though we have been promised a flat by MHADA at Prateeksha Nagar in Sion Koliwada and the required formalities are done,I have decided to stay here till Samruddhi is old enough to go to a faraway school, says Shraddha.
The room might not be as big as other normal houses but there is a sense of camaraderie among the residents here. As all the houses are occupied by the families of police personnel there is a strong bond among the people. During any crisis,everyone comes together to help each other. I have to raise my daughter now and I cannot think of any other place where she will be safe playing outside her house, she adds.
Shraddha says that despite her husbands humble salary of Rs 10,000 her family never faced any financial problems. As we had taken a house at Panvel a few years back,money would get deducted every month for the loan repayment. However,we were quite content with the way we were leading our life. There have never been any financial problems as such. Also,Vijay would regularly take advice from his brother,Ashok who works with a mutual funds company,about how to save because of which we were able to manage in the salary, adds Shraddha.
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