Five days before the cousin brothers were to tie the knots with their brides, their world came crashing down, to the letter, as their apartment building in Mumbra caved in on itself, fusing their excited hopes with the rubble.
Till the night of September 20, the first-floor house of Tausif Raza and Shoaib Qureshi in Banoo building was abuzz with twice the merry din typical of households preparing for a wedding. Hectic arrangements were being made. Clothes of the grooms had been stitched, embellished and brought home, jewellery designed and bought, countless errands run, invites sent. Only last-minute chores remained.
But all the planning was cut short cruelly the next day, when around 7.30 in the morning of September 21, giant fissures ran up and down the edifice before tearing it asunder.
The family had five days to go for the twin weddings scheduled for September 25, and six for the reception. But a funeral was upon them the very next day. One of the grooms’ brothers, Javed Qureshi, had been trapped in the debris and died. His body was recovered the day after. He has left behind a widow, who is three-months pregnant and is yet to see her first wedding anniversary next month.
Festivities made way for a funereal mood, and the family decided to call off the reception, opting instead for a no-frills marriage with plain rituals.
“A lot of arrangements have already been made by the bride’s family, and we cannot neglect that. So calling off the marriage altogether would not be the right thing. The least we can do is not to have a lavish reception. We can keep the rituals to a minimum,” said a somber Tausif. His reception was to be held in Afreen Function Hall in Mumbra.
Shoaib said close to 600 friends and relatives had been invited. “A handful of relatives from our native place have already arrived, and managing their accommodation, on top of ours, is a difficult task at this time. Many of the other relatives who live in Mumbai itself have come to know that the reception stands cancelled after this dreadful mishap,” said Shoaib.
Advance payments to everyone from the caterer to the decorator had been done. Jewellery had been made on loaned money. The family had bought saris and bangles for the brides. But their glitter was lost in the pile of debris their building now was. The family members rummaged through broken slabs and pulversied concrete to look for them, but all they found was tatters and shards.
Some jewellery was found from their smashed cupboard. “We lost some of the jewellery in this tragedy. All we can do now is bring some artificial knick-knacks for the brides,” said Tausif.
A senior official from Mumbra police station said they handed over the jewellery to the family after they found one of the family members PAN card in a bag containing the ornaments.
Brother they lost
He recounted how his brother Javed, who died in the collapse, had helped him with all the arrangements. “He would come along with me everywhere and give me a fair idea of what to choose, what was best, from selecting the hall to the wedding dress. He was good at this since he had done all of this for his marriage, which took place only around a year ago.”
The family members feel it would be wrong to have a celebration in front of Javed’s pregnant widow. She is yet to recover from the shock of losing her husband, they said.
Plans gone sour
>> Banoo building no 5 in Jeevan Baug, Mumbra collapses on September 21.
>> Marriage of two brothers living on the first floor was scheduled to take place on September 25 and reception on September 26.
>> In the collapse, the family lost a member and the marriage reception, scheduled for tomorrow, has been called off