A day after the Mangalore air tragedy, the remains of co-pilot Captain Habinder Singh Ahluwalia (42) and airhostess Tejal Kamulkar (24) were flown into the city in wooden caskets on Sunday.
Friends, neighbours and community members gathered at their homes to offer support to the shocked, grieving families.
In Andheri (east) where Ahluwalia used to live in a bungalow with his mother until six months ago, friends remembered that the popular bachelor had just decided to get married.
“Ahluwalia was very attached to his mother. Ten days ago, when he came to visit her, he said he wished to get married. His mother was so excited she could not stop talking about it,” said Narendra Singh, a friend and chairman of the society Ahluwalia lived in. “His mother heard the news on TV before she got a phone call from Air India.”
“They have a family business but he always wanted to become a pilot. At such a young age he had achieved everything in life,” said neighbour Balwant Singh.
At Tukaram Nagar in Dombivli, members of the housing society, where Kamulkar used to live with her parents and brother, put together a small memorial with her photograph in the building premises so everyone could pay their respects. Neighbours who were taking care of Kamulkar’s family said her father had identified her charred body only because of the gold chain she used to wear.
The casket with her remains was kept in the building for 10 minutes after which the funeral procession started with around 5,000 people in attendance. Ahluwalia’s body was taken to the gurudwara before cremation.