Just hours after her wedding was celebrated with gusto at Ghatkopar’s Samaj Kalyan Mandir Kendra, relatives of the bride and groom were searching for their kin who were involved in the expressway disaster. Amidst all this, Manisha’s 67-year-old grandfather Sopan Kokate is still anxiously awaiting her phone call, as he couldn’t accompany his family members to Pune because of his ill health.
Worried sick: Sopan Kokate is still anxiously awaiting to hear from his granddaughter. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
“When we got the bad news at 4 am, some of us left for Pune to track down all the injured people. We were told that police had arrived late at the scene and that the truck driver had tried to flee from the scene,” said the sexagenarian. “The groom’s mother, who was travelling with the newlyweds, was devastated when she arrived at the scene but was advised to carry on with the journey,” he added.
The bodies were sent to Laxminagar in Pune for the last rites. Manisha’s neighbours were jolted out of sleep at 5 am and were informed about the horrific incident.
Vishal Kokate (19), a relative of the bride, said, “We have been glued to the television all morning waiting for updates from Pune. The wedding was a huge success but what followed has changed everything.”
Manisha’s family members, who are from an extremely humble background, had spent one and a half lakh rupees for the wedding. The bride’s father, Shahaji Gaikwad, is a small-time vocalist in Ghatkopar.