The watchmen standing guard inside Campa Cola compound admitted they hadn’t received their Diwali bonus this year. Nor had the maids. But they weren’t really complaining. For they too knew that a bigger tragedy awaited their employers.
It was a black Diwali for the residents of Campa Cola compound in Worli, not just for the 96 families who are losing their homes, but even of the others residing in the legal floors of the compound.
There were no Diwali celebrations at all for the Campa Cola residents this year. The extension given to the residents to vacate their homes just after Diwali has, in fact, worsened matters, they allege. Even residents who are not losing their homes have decided not to celebrate the festival of lights to show solidarity with their neighbours of many years who, they say, are like extended family.
Deena Shah, who stays in one of the legal floors said, “ We are not celebrating Diwali but mourning. We are mourning the loss of our friends, who would leave us in a few days time.” On Saturday several posters greeted this correspondent inside the compound. One of them read, ‘ Festival of lights, now a shadow of darkness,’ summing up the mood.
Devyani Jayakar, whose home would be demolished on November 11 said, “ Earlier I had some hope that my home wouldn’t be demolished, but Diwali has brought grief. I don’t know what will I do after the demolition. It hurts that the home where I celebrated Diwali for 25 years will be demolished now.” Manoj Gidwani stays on the fifth floor of a building where all floors above his will be demolished. He is scared that his home would get affected during demolition. “ My son is upset that he can’t celebrate Diwali this year. His friends too are not celebrating the festival.
Generally all our homes are decorated during Diwali, but this year, we haven’t even shopped for anything,” said Gidwani.