It has been close to a month since Tarannum Ansari was reported drowned at Bandra Reclamation. But the teenager’s family is hoping she may have survived and is unable to find her way home.
“Anything that goes into the sea rises to the surface eventually. But we have not found a single trace of her so far. Not even a fragment of the clothes she was wearing that day. It might mean that she washed up far away,” said Tarannum’s bother Isaaq Ansari.
Govandi resident Tarannum, a first-year student of commerce at SNDT College, Ghatkopar, and her friends Masturi Khan and Anjum Khan had visited Bandra Fort on January 9.
According to the police and eyewitnesses, they walked up to the very edge of the rocky beach and were taking selfies with their phone when they were hit by a large wave. Tarannum and Masturi lost their balance and fell into the water.
While Anjum managed to pull Masturi out with the help of a local, Ramesh Walunj, Tarannum had been dragged in too far. Ramesh, who dived in to save her, did not survive the attempt. The police recovered his body the next day at Mahim Creek.
For three weeks after the tragedy, Tarannum’s brothers, friends and uncles, in a group of 30, fanned out along the city’s western coast, looking in every creek and cranny.
“We have scanned every inch of the seafront between Marine Drive and Versova but found nothing,” Isaaq said.
The police and the BMC, assisted by the Coast Guard, called off their search efforts after two unsuccessful weeks, but the recovery of Ramesh’s body has spurred Tarannum’s family on.
“For the past one week, we have been looking in public hospitals to check if my sister has been either admitted there or brought in dead. But we have not found her,” Isaaq said. “Ab dimaag kaam nahi kar raha (We don’t know what else to do).”
The family has also taken the search to Facebook. Husain Merchant, a cousin of Isaaq, has posted a picture of Tarannum, with a short appeal to spread the word.
“There has been response to that post. I can only now appeal to residents of the city to contact us if they spot Tarannum anywhere,” Isaaq said.