It was supposed to be one of several outstation trips that Sunil Sharma, a senior manager at a private firm in southeast Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar, had planned for his family of four, this summer.
Three days after Sharma, a resident of south Delhi’s Shahpur Jat village, and two of his close friends left for a trip in the foothills of the Himalayas, along with their families, their bodies were pried out from the wreckage of a Tempo Traveller, near a nondescript village in Himachal Pradesh’s Chamba around 2pm on Monday afternoon.
“What is left to say or ask? The whole family has been wiped out. Nothing is left; no one is left to say anything,” said an aggrieved relative of Sunil Sharma, who did not wish to be named.
The Sharmas were being accompanied by the families of two close friends — Deepak Sharma and Yatindra Yadav — from neighbouring Dwarka. Both families resided in separate housing societies in sector 7. Yadav owned a small BPO firm in the area.
A travel enthusiast and son of an Army officer, Sharma had returned from a family trip to southern India, two weeks ago. It was at the conclusion of Sharma’s last trip that he decided to visit north India, and this time, he asked Deepak and Yatindra to come along, on Thursday. “The three families hired a tempo traveller from a local travel agent, a couple of days ago. The 12 tourists, including three women and six children, were on their way to Chamba from Khajjiar when the vehicle they were travelling in fell into a gorge,” said a senior Delhi Police officer.
Only two of the 12 — Sunil’s wife Hema and Deepak’s daughter Sarita — survived and are recuperating at a local hospital in Chamba.
According to Chamba district authorities, the families took the “risky” Khajjiar-Chamba road despite several warnings to tourists not to. They were returning, said Sunil Sharma’s family members, after a day’s stay at Khajjiar.
“Instead of our family members, their dead bodies are returning from the trip that their own children were looking forward to. Who do we blame except our own bad luck? A whole generation has been wiped out,” said KD Sharma, Sunil Sharma’s uncle.
He said his elder brother, Krishna Singh Sharma, had identified his only son’s body just an hour ago and was on his way back to what remained of his family in the Capital.