In a crowded little room in Borivli’s Pathan Chawl, a group of women sit on the floor counting red kidney beans, remembering Allah and mentally repeating a chant with each one.
They will continue to do so till they have completed “sava lakh” (125,000) prayers so that their beloved Anis goes to jannat (heaven). This is the least they can do for the one they loved, and lost in the blasts on July 11.
For the last 18 years, Anis Sattar Patel (47), who worked as a technician at Milton Plastics, would reach home from work by 7.30 pm. But that ill-fated Tuesday, he kept his wife Rehana (35) waiting, forever. He was in the train that blew up at Matunga station.
She has been in shock ever since and has barely shed a tear. “It’s been 23 days….23 days,” said Rehana on Thursday when this reporter met her.
Everything in the house reminds her of Anis. A small mirror on which Anis painted the words ‘Anis loves Rehana’ is just one of them.
Anis always said he wanted to die before her, saying he would not be able to live without her, Rehana recalls. That is exactly what happened — she is now left behind to deal with his death.
“When a person is as good as Anis, the loss is harder to overcome,” said his neighbour and friend Abdul Rehman Khan. Anis was “perfect”, loved by everyone. He loved his work, his family, his plants and shayari.
Since Anis’ death, concerned neighbours are taking care of the family. The health of his mother Mehroonisa, who suffers from heart problems, has deteriorated.
While they are still struggling to come to terms with the tragedy, Anis’ children Gazala (16) and Faisal (14) are trying not to let their studies be affected; their father would not have like that.
Faisal, who is in Standard X, is preparing for his board examinations. Unfortunately, now the family will find it difficult to pay for his school and tuition fees.
Faisal’s father wanted him to be an engineer and he hopes to fulfill the dream.
Save for the tiny one-room home that Anis fondly named ‘Gazala Manzil’ after his daughter — he had etched the name on the outside wall — they have nothing to call their own. The Patels will now live on the compensation they are given for Anis’ death.
CAN YOU HELP?
Faisal Patel Class 10 student What Faisal needs A sponsor for his school fee, around Rs 350 per month.
Faisal (in the background in the photo) will also need help to pay his tuition fee, Rs 10,550 for the year. He wants to pursue engineering. His sister Gazala (holding a photo) studies in Surat; her grand parents sponsor her education.
You can help by contacting HT on 9322158426 or write to HTrelief@hindustantimes.com