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Fire on Mumbai-Dehradun Express: Elderly Ghatkopar couple who died were on a pilgrimage

It was on a joyous note that the elder Shahs Surendra and Deepika left for their pilgrimage to Gujarat at 10 pm on January 7

Neither them, nor their families would have imagined the journey would have such a catastrophic end. Surendra (68) and Deepika Shah (65) were two of the people who lost their lives in the blaze that engulfed the Mumbai-Dehradun Express in the wee hours of yesterday.

Surendra and Deepika Shah were on their way to Dakor in Gujarat
Surendra and Deepika Shah were on their way to Dakor in Gujarat

The Shahs had three sons, and they stayed at Amrut Nagar in Ghatkopar with their eldest. On Wednesday morning, grief and sorrow was palpable in the family home, with relatives rushing in to console the heartbroken children. Amit Shah, their second son, said they got to know of the fire in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

The Ghatkopar society where the couple stayed
The Ghatkopar society where the couple stayed

“My brother Nikhil immediately rushed to the spot when we heard the news. He is currently making arrangements for the bodies to be brought home. My parents were on their way to Dakor in Gujarat to visit a Shiva temple. This was a planned visit and we even went to drop them off at Bandra Terminus on the night of January 7,” Amit told MiD DAY. The couple was supposed to return home on Sunday.

Neighbours say that the couple was jolly and sociable. Rekha Tolia, a friend of Deepika Shah, remembered sitting with her on the evening of January 7. “In our building, all of the elderly women come together in the evening for a walk, or to simply have a chat. On Tuesday, too, it was the case and Deepika had mentioned her trip to Dakor. In fact, they even had plans of going further to Saurashtra later this month,” Tolia recalled.

Neighbours are lending a hand by sending food and other items for relatives who are visiting the family. One of the neighbours, requesting anonymity, said that the couple was extremely healthy and fit, despite their old age. “They would regularly come and interact with everyone in the society and shared a very cordial relationship with everyone. It feels really sad to have lost people like them. They were heading to a holy place and lost their lives in the fire.”

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