When the Himalaya Bridge at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway station began wobbling dangerously Thursday evening, Zahid Khan’s first instinct was to push away his father Siraj who was behind him. That push to the chest saved the 60-year-old who watched in horror as his son fell to his death, crushed by cement slabs of the foot overbridge.Thirty-two-year-old Zahid was one of six to die. At least 31 others were injured.
On Friday, at Maitri Apartments in Ghatkopar West, Siraj’s neighbour Maksood Khan said: “Had Zahid not pushed away his father, he too would have died. He survived because the slabs that fell were a little ahead of him.”
His back heavily strapped, Siraj was inconsolable as he returned home after laying his son to rest. Family members said more than 300 people from across Ghatkopar attended the funeral.
Zahid leaves behind his parents, a younger brother, wife and two daughters, one aged six and the other just eight months. “Hamare ghar ka chirag bujh gaya hai (the light has gone out of our lives),” a cousin said.
His back and chest injured, Siraj was advised admission to St. George Hospital, but he couldn’t bear the thought of not being with his son on his final journey. “Hopefully, he will return to the hospital now. He can’t even sit properly and it appears he has suffered fractures,” Maksood said.
Father and son duo ran a shop that sold belts outside Ghatkopar railway station. Siraj had moved to Mumbai from Prayagraj nearly 40 years ago, and set up a stall on the road. The family initially lived at Nitya Nagar in Ghatkopar West before Siraj saved enough to buy the apartment where they now live — their home for the last eight years. Read in Malayalam
“Zahid was a simple, straight-forward boy. He would head to work with his father after offering prayers in the morning, and return in the evening,” Maksood said.
Twice a month, they would go to Crawford Market to order belts and return to the shop by lunch-time. “I don’t know what happened yesterday that made them go to the market in the evening,” Maksood said.