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Rahul?s 12 steps to manhood

Just two weeks ago, Rahul Mahajan was another kid on the block. But one tragic, dramatic instant changed him.

india Updated: May 06, 2006 02:14 IST

Death is a catalyst, it transforms. Just two weeks ago, Rahul Mahajan was another kid on the block. But one tragic, dramatic instant changed him from a pampered son to a responsible head of the family. The transformation took place outside the ICU of Hinduja Hospital in 12 days when his father walked the thin line between life and death.

Early on April 22 morning, Rahul's youngest uncle Pravin shot his father at their Worli home leaving the family battling the trauma together in the hospital.  

"We have always thought of Rahul as a kid. But he surprised us over the past few days he took charge of things. He literally became a pillar of strength for his mother and sister," said Sanjay Bedia, BJP general secretary (south Mumbai), and a close friend of the Mahajans.

"We saw shades of Pramodji in him. Though he's so young, he would constantly tell us not to exhaust ourselves," Bedia recalled. He camped outside the ICU, along with Mangal Prabhat Lodha, the South Mumbai BJP legislator.

A trained pilot, Rahul dabbled in television production and set up a broadband company - Speed Melon. "We used to hang out together at friends' houses and discos. He was a party animal," said a young Congress politician. He struck me as a nice sort - warm and friendly.

But the playfulness vanished on Thursday. As senior BJP leaders - Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Vijay Goel and Gopinath Munde broke down at Mahajan's funeral, Rahul was rock steady.

He was the shoulder on which his mother, grandmother and sister wept. "He seemed to be in control, but I know he was all broken inside," the Congress man said. As he lit his father's pyre at 1.20 p.m., a thousand emotions flitted across his face. But he stood resolute. It is something that his family will count on in the days ahead.