“Before she left on Friday for the Nepal trip, Taruni hugged all her friends and said to them, ‘I’m meeting you guys for the last time’,” said 15- year-old Vriti Menghrajani, Taruni Sachdev’s best friend.
“When we asked her why she said that, she laughed and said she was just joking, and meant that she was seeing them for the last time before leaving for a month-long trip to Nepal and then to Bangalore,” added Menghrajani.
Back then, the friends had no idea that Taruni’s light-hearted joke would come true with such chilling accuracy. The child star and her mother Geeta Sachdev’s mortal remains were brought to their Khar residence around 5.30 pm last evening. Her friends and neighbours remember Taruni — a Std IX student of Avabai Petit High school — as a girl who always wore a smile on her face. “The bodies are in bad shape because of the nature of the accident. Hence the coffins weren’t opened,” said a neighbour of the Sachdevs, without wishing to be identified.
Tania Ahuja (14), Taruni’s friend, recalled, “Before leaving for the trip, she circulated a message through her phone that she was going for a short trip to Nepal and Bangalore. She said she would miss all of us, and even uploaded a picture of her and her mom. She hugged all her friends and patched up with those who she had minor altercations with in the past few months. All this seems so strange now.”
“Taruni had never hugged her friends or sent them goodbye messages before leaving for any of her earlier trips. The fact that she said all her goodbyes with such zeal makes me believe that all this was destined to happen,” said Muskaan Mirwani (13), Taruni’s classmate. “Taruni was in touch via messages with her best friend Tanushkha Pillai. Just before boarding the flight, she messaged Tanushkha, jokingly asking what would happen if the plane crashed. Taruni went on to send Tanuskha one last message — saying ‘I love you’ — before switching off her phone.
Tanushkha immediately replied ‘I love you too,’ but by then it was too late. Taruni had switched her phone off, and the message is still undelivered. Tanushka is traumatised by her friend’s death, and couldn’t stay for long at the funeral,” recalled Auzeen Felfeli (13), Taruni’s classmate. Pallika Mataji, in-charge of the Shri Shri Radha Gopinath Mandir, of which the Sachdevs were ardent devotees, said, “I blessed Geetaji as soon as she delivered Taruni at a nursing home in Bandra. Taruni grew up into a beautiful and graceful girl, and was a spiritually inclined person. I pray to God to bless her in her heavenly abode.” The mortal remains of Taruni and Geeta will be taken to the nearby Radha Natwar temple before cremation. “Taruni’s father lost his mother four months ago, and now he has lost his wife and daughter. In four months, he lost his entire family. I have saved tha last picture she sent from her phone,” added Menghrajani.
Yashvi Panjabi, Taruni’s grieving friend, said, “Taruni could bring a smile to anyone’s face. She was known as the vivacious girl in our locality. We will always miss her.” The bodies of all the seven city residents who passed away in the crash — Taruni and Geeta Sachdev, Kama and Menaka Arora and their son Shiv Arora, and two brothers Mukesh and Rakesh Handa — were flown in from Kathmandu last morning.