Last Tuesday, siblings Mahek, 5, and Dia, 4 — who greeted their family thrice a day with a ‘Jai Shri Krishna’ and would raise hell if they didn’t get to go to a temple — took their final trip to one.
The girls hopped into their golden Honda City with their granny Vimala, who was going to offer food to the needy at a shrine. Seeing there were no beggars at a local temple, they drove to the Hanuman temple near Chandpole. Seconds after their car screeched to a halt, a bicycle carrying a bomb exploded right behind them. <b1>
Only Vimala returned alive from the temple. The girls were found late at night lying on the cold, concrete floor of a civic hospital by their father, Sachin Gupta, a synthetic jewellery exporter. The sisters were lying next to each other as always — but not being themselves at all. They were neither chatting non-stop nor fussing over their respective Barbies. There was no bitter fight to grab the TV remote nor was there a territorial skirmish over Dadi’s lap. Instead, they lay motionless — Mahek’s face a bloodied mess and Dia’s face, their father rued, radiant and without a scratch, but the back of the head battered.
The doctors told a shocked Sachin that his girls had probably died instantly due to haemorrhage, shock and excessive loss of blood. He begged the doctors to “give back” at least one of his girls, but in vain. Sachin hasn’t cried at all ever since: not even when he was placing his daughters’ favourite chocolates on their pyres. He just stares blankly into space.
Vimala is still battling for her life, with the doctors struggling to extricate a few metal balls from her body. She is hysterical with the pain of her loss. “Who will call me ‘Dadi’ now? It was all my mistake….” The girls’ mother Payal is six months pregnant, and wasn’t told about their death till three days later. She is now inconsolable and flits in and out of consciousness inside a darkened room.