Maha localities battle grief as loss of young lives leaves behind void
13 people, including an eight-year-old, died after a bus fell into a gorge while travelling from Pune to Mumbai
: Shock and grief shrouded the residents of Goregaon East’s two housing societies as nine people from the area, including an eight-year-old, died after a bus fell into a gorge killing 13 people in total.
The deceased, all below the age of 21 years, included members of a folk music troupe that had gone to Pune to perform on Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s birth anniversary on Friday. The group was formed three years ago by brothers Satish Dhumal, 21 and Swapnil Dhumal,19, both of whom died in the accident. Satish was working for an insurance company on a part-time basis and Swapnil was a first-year BCom student, people close to the brothers said. They were residents of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Colony, in Goregaon East’s Santosh Nagar.
“It was Satish, who first started learning music, and his younger brother followed. Three years ago, they started building the group with other young people from the area. A year ago, they started getting calls to perform at events outside of the colony,” said their friend Prathamesh Mane.
Social worker Arjun Devle said the locality mostly houses people from the lower middle-class strata of society . The 45-member group had a small, rented office in the nearby Khadakpada locality, where they kept their instruments. They used to rehearse on the weekends at the municipal ground nearby, people from the area said.
“All of them were good, disciplined and ambitious kids. We were very hopeful that they will make something of their lives and inspire the next generation from the locality to do the same,” Govind Mane, a teacher in a nearby municipal school where most of the victims studied, said. Among the deceased was Class 2 student Veer Mandavkar, who had gone to perform out of the city for the first time. “He was passionate about music. Every Sunday he used to go for practice without fail. He was equally good at studies,” said one of his friends.
The family of 17-year-old Rahul Gothal, who used to stay in the nearby Shivneri Housing Society, were struggling to come to terms with his sudden death.
“His father got to know about the accident through residents of Santosh Nagar. He rushed to Khopoli early in the morning. His mother been inconsolable since she got to know about the accident,” said a resident, on anonymity.