Family in financial duress after car crash claimed breadwinner

Mar 13, 2013, 07:19 IST | Shailesh Bhatia

Since they lost their kin a month back, the Ajwanis are struggling to make ends meet; the victim was sole bread-winner of the family, and his father's pension of Rs 16,000 isn't enough to educate his two teenage daughters and provide for his paralysed mother

“I would often read about people succumbing to road accidents in the papers and would turn the page. It is only after I lost my son that I can fully comprehend the pain and the agony of the family members who are left behind to face the harsh realities of life,” said Nanik Ajwani, who lost his only son Mahesh exactly a month ago, when a car, speeding in from a no-entry on Linking Road lost control and crashed. The accident claimed the life of one more person, and injured four bystanders. Mahesh was returning home after dropping his daughter off to school.

MiD DAY visited the Ajwani household in Bandra, which stands just a few metres away from the spot where the accident occurred. The grieving family is not only reeling under grief, but are also experiencing financial difficulties, now that their breadwinner has passed away. Moreover, they are yet to receive any compensation from the firm that the car belonged to.

Mahesh Ajwani was doing well in his diamond assortment business and providing for his family of six when he passed away in a car accident; his family is is neck-deep in financial difficulties

Tragic reversal
“Our life changed on February 13, at 9.20 am, when we received a call from the police, informing us that our son was no more. Just nine months ago, Debu, as we affectionately called him, suggested that we move from our old two-bedroom flat in Khar to an upmarket three-bedroom apartment on rent, since he was secure in his diamond assortment business. His two teenage daughters Pooja (18), and Karishma (15) were growing up, and required their space, he said,” recalled senior Ajwani, a retired employee of Punjab National Bank.

Victim’s sister Sapna Gehani, his parents Sunita and Nanik Ajwani

He added that within a month of their son’s demise, the family has started feeling the financial pinch and has decided to shift back to their old apartment, which is actually due for redevelopment. “I am too old to seek employment, and I cannot leave my bedridden wife behind. My daughter-in-law has been a housewife all along, bringing up two children and taking care of the family.”

Scraping by
“I retired almost 15 years ago and get a monthly pension of a little less than Rs 16,000, which does not even cover expenses for a full-time maid and medicines for my bedridden wife, who suffered a paralytic stroke nearly six years ago. How will I educate my two granddaughters and pay rent?” said the senior citizen.

Sapna Gehani, Mahesh’s sister clarified that his family is not looking for charity, but legal assistance for procurement of compensation from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), which owned the Silver Honda Accord that was involved in the accident. “We have been assured of help, but nothing seems to be happening. In fact, after verbal assurance, no one has come from the company, even to offer condolence,” she said. To mark the day, Sapna has organised a candle march today at 5 pm, at the spot opposite Amarsons where she lost her brother.

Yashwant Amin, adminstrative officer at PWC, who has been interacting with the family, informed that the car involved in the accident was sent to the surveyor two days ago and their legal department was working on processing the third party insurance papers.

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