The constant, disconsolate wails of about a hundred women dressed in colourful Rajasthani outfits, sitting on the packed pathway, made for good TV on Monday.
That’s why legions of microphone-wielding newshounds turned the mourning at this little corner of Beadonpura, called Gali No. 42, into a TRP-grabbing exercise.
“They have been coming and pointing their cameras at us and making us say the same things over and over again, some even asking us how we felt,” said Saroj Devi from Bhiwani, who had come to attend to her sister-in-law, who lost her husband -- one of the seven dead.
Aspiring politicians and social workers missed no opportunity to go on air through the day.
M.S. Bitta, head of All-India Anti-Terrorist Front, arrived in the afternoon with his VVIP security detail to console the mourners. The mourners stopped crying and promptly covered their faces behind veils. “We have come here to be with the people who have suffered this great loss. We are by their side in these troubled times,” Bitta said and left.
Glucose biscuits, chana kulcha, laddoo, matthi, and a host of delectable knickknacks were in abundance for the mourners, who refused to eat. “As per our custom, we cannot have meals until the dead are cremated,” said Pramila, one of the relatives of the dead. Several untouched plates full of food lay spread around the place. “We will keep serving till the dead bodies are cremated. This is our way of helping,” said politician Ashok Singhal, who arranged for the food.
In the midst of this, the police kept arriving every now and then to clear unnecessary crowds, as mourners resumed their cries before rolling cameras.
Gali No. 42 had found the limelight it never asked for.