Mohammed Aslam Shaikh’s friends say the 45-year-old used to always talk about how he would never let go of his 1987 Yamaha motorcycle in his lifetime.
That this would come true now almost seems cruel, said neighbour and childhood friend, Wasim Khan.
Shaikh was riding his Yamaha on Friday night, with his wife Reshma riding pillion, when a branch of a banyan tree he was passing under fell on him. The impact threw Reshma off the bike. Shaikh fell too, crushed under the weight of the branch and the bike.
Reshma managed to escape with minor injuries but Shaikh did not survive the mishap.
“He was the one who held his family together. If it weren’t for him, this family of four would not have been as happy,” said Shaikh’s friend Mohamed Fareed Mansoori, who also runs a mattress store in Shaikh’s building in Colaba market.
Shaikh’s death has added to his family’s troubles.
Until he got married only four years ago, Shaikh was the family’s sole breadwinner. His younger brother, Abdul Khaliq (35), is mentally unstable.
When the accident occurred, Shaikh and Reshma were returning from a nursing home in Nagpada, after visiting Shaikh’s 85-year-old mother, Aamna Bi. She slipped into a coma three days ago. “She keeps staring at us, but doesn’t say a word,” Khaliq said.
Khaliq has been inconsolable since his brother’s death.
“Aslam treated Khaliq like his son, considering that they had lost their father in their childhood,” Khan said. “Aslam doted on him and did everything to ensure he was comfortable.”
Neighbours, too, have fond memories of Shaikh. “During Ramzan, since we had no way to break fast in our shops, Aslam and Khaliq would provide us with food and water,” Mansoori said.
Distraught friends and family are grateful that Reshma is safe. “Another good part is that Aslam passed away in the holy month of Ramzan. Very few of us are fortunate enough to die in this month,” said an aunt.
Almost as an afterthought, she added: “This alone shows that a gem like him deserves heaven, and nothing else.”