?I can take anything now? | india | Hindustan Times
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?I can take anything now?

india Updated: Jul 26, 2006 02:34 IST

Afzal Mohammed Memon (16) has a stoic look. He doesn’t want to talk about 26/7, the day that changed his life forever.

Afzal lost nine family members in a landslide that crushed his Saki Naka home that day. His was one of the 138 houses that were wiped out in the rockfall.

The teenager now lives with his uncle — and, he says, with memories of his family.

On Tuesday morning, Afzal quietly placed flowers at the spot where his house — filled with his near and dear ones — once stood. The spot is now a computer scrap dump, scattered with laser-printer ribbons.

“On July 26 last year, I was sitting with my friends at our colony’s naka, talking about the deluge. At 3 pm, I heard a loud noise followed by cries of people,” said Memon, the eldest child of the family. Where his house was, he could just see boulders and debris. “Initially, there was a curtain of dust, but the rain settled it quickly. My entire family perished,” he says quietly. He was the only one who survived.

Today, Afzal has taken up a job in a construction-related firm at Chiwda Lane in Lalbaug.

“The year’s gone by too quickly. I’m taking a fresh look at life and am working to keep myself busy  — and my mind off the tragedy,” says Afzal, staring at the erstwhile site of his home. “I am a hardened person now. I can take anything that comes.”

When he gets lonely, he seeks out his friends. “I come here with my friends and talk about everything — except that day.”