By: Garima Mishra and Arul Horizon
Just a few days before the devastating landslide hit Malin village in Pune district on July 30, its resident Machindranath Zanjare and his family were celebrating the news of his promotion as a senior teacher. On the day of the disaster in which over 130 people were killed, 32-year-old Zanjare had left home early morning for Pune to visit Zila Parishad office, where he was supposed to get details of the school where he was going to be appointed.
However, he had hardly travelled 30 km, when he received a call from a relative about the tragedy. From celebrating a promotion to performing the last rites of his loved ones, his life had turned upside down within a few hours. The bodies of his wife Usha and two children— Manasi (10) and Soham (6) — were among the first to removed from the debris on the second day of the landslide.
Now, after over four months, Zanjare is giving life another chance as a week ago on December 15 he got remarried. His newly-wedded wife Dipali is a teacher at New English School, Asane. “I had no intention of remarrying. However, my father is old and suffers from diabetes and asthma.
Earlier, he used to stay with us, but after my wife and children passed away, he shifted to Pune to stay with my sister and her husband. I was feeling guilty about it.
Besides, both my father and my sister’s husband felt that I should give life a second chance. I agreed,” says Zanjare, who is now posted at a school in Borghar village. He has received Rs 15,50,000 as the compensation and expects another Rs 10 lakh from Chir Minister’s fund.
Like Zanjare, 45-year-old Dilip Bagwan Lembhe too has begun picking up pieces of his life after the landslide killed 10 members of his family — his seven children, wife, brother-in-law’s wife and mother-in-law. Sitting with his newly-wedded wife at his temporary shelter, which was provided by the government, Lembhe says, “One has to accept the fate and move on. How long can one stay alone?” Lembhe married Maneesha (26) from Tambe village on December 18.
The decision, says Lembhe, was a tough one for him as he had seen the calamity unfolding in front of him. While the landslide took place around 8.15 am, Lembhe had left for his farms at around 6.30 am. “It was raining that morning. As I was working in the fields, I suddenly saw the houses getting eaten up by mud and slush.
For a few minutes, I didn’t believe my eyes and then rushed to the spot. I was hoping against hope that my family members are alive,” says Lembhe, as he pulls out the pictures of his deceased family members.
Lembhe received Rs 35 lakh as the compensation from the government. “The amount cannot replace the loss of my family,” he says. Both weddings were, understandably, subdued affairs conducted in the court. And though both Zanjare and Lembhe are beginning to settle in their respective new lives, they are yet to get over the past.
“Every day, when I would reach home in the evening, my son would pester me to give him a ride on my scooter. On the other hand, Manasi was quieter. She wanted to become a doctor,” recalls Zanjare, who did MA from University of Pune and B.Ed from Raigad University.