Three-year-old Lajma faintly remembers her mother asking if she wanted to speak to her father over the phone on Sunday afternoon. Deep in slumber at that time, Lajma refused to wake up.
Almost 24 hours later, her father’s body lay in a coffin on a hearse at AIIMS trauma centre. But she remains oblivious to the fact that her father was no more.
Nazrul, 32, was killed after a WagonR he was driving was smashed from behind allegedly by a BMW in south Delhi on Sunday night. The BMW driver, identified as Shoaib Kohli, has been arrested by the police.
“I have told her that her father is away on duty. I don’t know how to tell her he will never return,” said Arjena Biwi, the victim’s wife.
Lajma, however, regrets not waking up to talk to her father. “When will papa call again? You should have woken me up,” she asked her mother.
He had decided to leave his daughter undisturbed when he left home at 6.30 am on Sunday for a 24-hour shift. Lajma accompanied her mother to the house where she works as a maid when Nazrul called her over phone at 1 pm.
“Despite his odd working hours, there was not a day when he did not speak to Lajma. So when I told him that Lajma had dozed off again, he said he would call sometime later. But the only call we received after that was informing us about his death,” said Biwi.
Earning Rs 15,000, Nazrul was the primary breadwinner in his family that also includes his 10-year-old son, Arif, and his 75-year-old grandmother.
When Biwi realised his earning was not enough to sustain the family, she decided to find a job as a housemaid that fetches her Rs 2,000 per month. “Nazrul was also sending money to pay for his father’s treatment and to his brother. They live in our native village in Bengal,” said Biwi.
Living in a rented accommodation in Gurgaon, Nazrul had been driving cars for the last six years. Until mid-2016, he drove for a businessman, but lost his job because he took an extended leave from work to meet an emergency.
Last year, he began driving for another employer who had his car attached with an app-based cab service. But Sunday was the first day he began driving for Uber after being offered a job by Taimur Islam, the owner of the WagonR involved in the accident.
With Nazrul dead, his family is left with little opportunities to make ends meet. “My children are left without any future, only because some rich man drove rashly,” said Biwi.
Despite the financial hardships staring in her face, Biwi is determined to fight for justice. “I will return to Delhi after my husband’s cremation. My husband’s killer cannot get away thinking he is a rich man and we are uneducated,” Biwi said before the hearse van drove away to Bengal.