Till 2am on Tuesday, 23-year-old Rachita Bhat was chatting with her friends on WhatsApp, when she felt a sudden jolt. “I think our building is collapsing,” she wrote to a friend. The last time she was on the social networking app was at 2.05am.
Rachita, along with her parents Ramchandra, 65, and Meera Bhat, 58, her uncle Subhrav Bhat, 54, and her sister Rashmi, 25, who lived on the second floor of Krishna Niwas, lost their lives in the collapse.
Her friend Ashwini Shenoy, 23, who grew up together with Rachita said, “Rachita had completed her BMM and wanted to pursue her career in the media. The WhatsApp message was the last we heard from her.”
Shenoy said Rashmi’s husband had gone to Ahmedabad for work. “She got married two months ago and had come home to her mother’s place for the weekend. She also wanted to attend her neighbour Aniya’s birthday party .”
Ramchandra owns a catering business in the city called Rashmi Caterers. His wife Meera helped run it. Subhrav worked for a private company and was planning to retire in a few months.
Asha Shenoy, Ashwini’s mother and the Bhat’s family friend, said, “Ramchandra was back from a funeral of one of our acquaintances held in Lokmanya Nagar on Monday evening. We did not realise we will have to attend his funeral the next day.”
Rachita’s body was identified by another school friend Nupura Deshpande, who lives a few minutes from Krishna Niwas. “My father got the message of the collapse at 5am and rushed to the spot. He came home and told us it was Rachita’s building, so we all went to the civil hospital at 6.45am. We were told to identify the body. It was a shock to see my childhood friend and her entire family among the bodies,” Deshpande said.