Vitthal Titkare had been looking forward to Monday, when he would have celebrated his 25th birthday with his wife of two months, Deepali. But, all he has felt in the past week is grief and shock from having lost her in the landslide at Malin.
Heartbroken: Vitthal waits at the Manchar sub-district hospital, hoping to recover in time for his wife’s last rites
Vitthal has a clerical job at Sector 19, Vashi. Just a day before the landslide occurred, the couple had left their home in Mumbai to go help their parents on the paddy fields and to celebrate Nagpanchmi there. “Though our marriage was short-lived, the memories we had shared are unforgettable. Besides being my wife, she was my childhood friend. We had gone to the same school in Malin village.
I don’t know how I am going to spend my whole life without her,” said the inconsolable Vitthal, who is currently being treated for chest pain at the Manchar sub-district hospital. “I have to recover in the next couple of days, as I want to attend my wife’s dashkriya vidhi (last rites),” Vitthal said.
Amongst the many volunteers who can be spotted helping the rescue work at Malin is Dr Paresh Pote (28), a freshly graduated doctor at the Manchar sub-district hospital. While Pote threw himself into the relief operations at the village, his colleagues revealed the very personal loss that he suffered himself in the landslide — it claimed eight of his relatives.
According to Dr Ganesh Pawar, a medical officer at the same hospital, Pote had recently finished developing a new concrete four-room house in the village for his extended family. They were supposed to move into the house once the vastu shanti pooja had been completed in the month of Shravan. Had they moved there before the landslide, Pote’s relatives could have survived, said Dr Pawar.
“Dr Pote has recently completed his MBBS from a Kolhapur college, and has been posted at the Manchar sub-district hospital for the past four months. While he is based out of Pune city, along with his parents, his uncle and aunt and other relatives were found dead under the debris at Malin village,” said Dr Pawar.
“Out of the eight deceased, six bodies have been recovered so far, while the search for the other two is still going on. But instead of getting crushed with grief, Dr Pote has dedicated himself to the rescue operations at Malin since Wednesday morning,” he said.