Mohali youth in US got sister’s rakhi hours before he was shot

Simranjit’s body will reach his parents’ home in Sector 70 on Rakshabandhan; the cremation is expected the next day.

punjab Updated: Aug 04, 2017 17:07 IST
Vivek Gupta
Vivek Gupta
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Mohali youth,youth shot in US,rakhi
Simranjit Singh.(HT File)

Nearly a month ago, Navjeet Kaur posted a rakhi from Kharar to her brother, Simranjit Singh, in the US. It was an annual ritual ever since he shifted to Sacramento (California, US) in 2015.

“I could hear the smile in his voice when he called me on the morning of July 25 to tell me that he liked the rakhi I sent him. He was so happy,” she says.

It was the last time she heard from him and hours later she received the news of her loving brother’s death. The 20-year-old was shot dead at a gas station where he worked part-time as a clerk. He shifted to the US to study engineering and was living with his eldest sister, Harpinder Kaur, barely 10 minutes away from the spot where he was killed. Simranjit was the only brother to three sisters — Navjeet lives here and another sister, Rajwinder, is settled in New Zealand. His body will reach his parents’ house in Sector 70 on Rakshabandhan on August 7. The cremation is expected the next day.

For his sisters, the pain of saying a final goodbye to their brother during festival time is beyond words. “Mere layee te saare tyohaar khatam ho gaye ne (With his death, no festival has any meaning for me),” cries Navjeet.

A homemaker, she recalls that she held the newborn, Simranjit, in her arms when she was in Class 10. “The three of us were so excited. We always treated him more like a son than a brother,” she added.

Navjeet says the bubbly Simranjit always joked about the huge age gap between them. He was 16 years younger than Navjeet. “He would ask, ‘Why did you bring me to life so late?’,” she says.“Now I feel that he just came to fulfil his responsibility as a brother. He saw us getting married and settled. And then, fate snatched him away,” she adds.

Simranjit’s brother-in-law, Hartejpreet Chauhan, says they will leave with the body on Sunday and reach the next day. “We may reach Mohali on Monday night due to the time difference,” he adds.Navjeet says while her sisters will leave after a few weeks, her priority is to support her old parents who are unable to cope with the tragedy.

The parents, Ranjit Singh Bhangoo and Manmeet Kaur, are in New Zealand where they went last month to see their daughter, who gave birth to a boy. They too are arriving early on Saturday.

Condolence messages on FB

Simranjit’s Facebook timeline has received a deluge of condolence messages from his friends in India and the US. Aman Singh, his classmate from Chandigarh, posted that it was difficult to believe that Simran was no more.

“He was my first friend in Chandigarh. I have never seen such a positive approach to life. I have only happiness associated with this person. All he ever wanted to do was make his parents proud. I really hope that whatever happens after life, he has it for the best,” he wrote.

Matthew Marrison from Sacramento wrote that he did not know Simranjit well, but saw him daily when he stopped at the gas station where he worked. “He had such a kind smile that seemed almost infectious. I always enjoyed the small talk that we shared and I was always happy to see him. He was a positive and bright light in my daily life. I was heartbroken to hear what happened,” he posted. Marrison added, “Words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss. I will miss seeing his smile and feeling so welcomed by him.”

First Published: Aug 04, 2017 13:01 IST