?I can take anything now?
Afzal Mohammed Memon (16) has a stoic look. He doesn’t want to talk about 26/7, the day that changed his life forever.
Afzal lost nine family members in a landslide that crushed his Saki Naka home that day. His was one of the 138 houses that were wiped out in the rockfall.
The teenager now lives with his uncle — and, he says, with memories of his family.
On Tuesday morning, Afzal quietly placed flowers at the spot where his house — filled with his near and dear ones — once stood. The spot is now a computer scrap dump, scattered with laser-printer ribbons.
“On July 26 last year, I was sitting with my friends at our colony’s naka, talking about the deluge. At 3 pm, I heard a loud noise followed by cries of people,” said Memon, the eldest child of the family. Where his house was, he could just see boulders and debris. “Initially, there was a curtain of dust, but the rain settled it quickly. My entire family perished,” he says quietly. He was the only one who survived.
Today, Afzal has taken up a job in a construction-related firm at Chiwda Lane in Lalbaug.
“The year’s gone by too quickly. I’m taking a fresh look at life and am working to keep myself busy — and my mind off the tragedy,” says Afzal, staring at the erstwhile site of his home. “I am a hardened person now. I can take anything that comes.”
When he gets lonely, he seeks out his friends. “I come here with my friends and talk about everything — except that day.”