Central Excise employee Dhiraj Rathod thought he had lost more than his right forearm in the Khar blast. He believed it had taken away his ability to work and his hope of supporting his family of six.
54-year-old Rathod used to take home Rs 20,000 a month. When HT met him at KEM Hospital on July 29, a shattered Rathod wondered how his family would make ends meet. But his greater concern was his daughters’ education. “How will I fund it?” he asked.
Priyanka (12) is studying in Standard 7 at St Anne’s Convent in Borivali (W), while Jignasha (10) is in Standard 6 in the same school. The girls were preparing for various scholarship and elementary exams, which would also cost them a large sum, said an anxious Kanchan, Rathod’s wife. The Rs 50,000 compensation from the railways, she said, would barely suffice for a prosthetic arm for Rathod.
HT decided to take up the sisters’ cause and published Rathod’s story on July 31. Since then, several people and organisations offered to help.
Rathod settled on the offer made by Joe Rajan, CEO of Harvey India (a travel company), and filmmakers Ashoke Pandit and Madhur Bhandarkar. While Bhandarkar will fund Priyanka’s education, Rajan will pay for Jignasha’s. Pandit has assured Rs 4,000 for the girls’ immediate educational needs.
On Thursday, Rajan presented the first installment of their commitment, a cheque of Rs 15,000, to Rathod on his hospital bed while a misty-eyed Kanchan looked on. Priyanka and Jignasha can now pursue their ambitions. “One day they will be will be my crutches,” smiled Rathod.