“What will I do with this money? Whom will I spend it on now?” Ram Niwas, 37, asked nobody in particular and broke down as his four-year-old son lay on the hospital bed with an amputated leg.
Niwas, a labourer at Delhi airport, survived the train accident as he was sitting in the general compartment next to the Ladies’ van that bore the brunt of the collision.
But his wife Kanti Devi (33) and five-year-old elder son Hemant were not as fortunate.
For the survivors of the Mathura train collision, life will never be the same again.
Most of the women and children on board the ladies and disabled compartments had gone home for Diwali and Bhaiya Dooj—two festivals that they may never celebrate again.
“I don’t care if I die. But I want to find my daughter,” said 50-year-old Satyanarayan, a handicrafts artist from Jhajjar in Haryana, lying with severe head injuries at Mathura’s Methodist Hospital.
His 24-year-old physically challenged daughter Sudesh and he had gone to Udaipur in Rajasthan to get an artificial limb for her. “It was a Diwali gift,” he said.
But Sudesh has been missing since the accident. Relatives have looked for her at the hospital and at the mortuary but to no avail.
Roshan Lal, 38, a shopkeeper from Ballabhgarh, Haryana, said life was all but over. “I wish I was there at the compartment with them,” he said sitting next to the bodies of his 12-year-old daughter Priya, five-year-old son Shubham and his wife Vijay Laxmi (33).
His younger daughter, six-year-old Shaili, suffered multiple fractures and was referred to the Civil Hospital in Agra. “What will I tell her when she comes to her senses?”
The accident has left at least 22 dead and 25 injured. The railways have announced Rs 5 lakh for the families of the deceased; Rs 1 lakh for the critically injured and Rs 10,000 for those with minor injuries.
“Can this money bring my family back?” asked Ram Nivas.