Mumbai: Shubhangi Ivalekar has tears in her eyes and a dazed look on her face that betrays several haunting questions on her mind how will she repay the home loan, how will she raise her two daughters? Shubangi is the wife of Nitin Ivalekar, the fireman who passed away after fighting bravely to put out the fire that raged at Lotus Business Park in Andheri (West) on July 18.
Nitin was the sole breadwinner of the family and was the only fireman dead in the fire that landed 20 other officials in hospital. "Right now, I am only worried about how I will raise my daughters," she says. Even if the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) does give her a job as compensation, her worries will not end.
The Ivalekars are a nuclear family and if she goes out to work, there would be nobody to look after her two young daughters the elder being six years old, and the younger barely two.
She used to work at Cooper Hospital as a nurse, but quit her job to take care of the children. A more telling problem the 30-year-old has on her mind is the home loan for the Virar apartment she is currently staying in she doesn't even know how much she owes the bank, as her husband would take care of her finances with the Rs 23,000 he earned a month. The family had moved into their new home, which is now resoundingly empty without Nitin, only a fortnight ago.
Relatives and friends are pitching in to help the family in any way they can. "We are trying to do whatever we can, but we are all middle-class families. We can only do so much. Today, we are there for them. Tomorrow, we may not be there. Who will help them?" asked Ramesh Saigonkar, Shubhangi's uncle, who stays in Virar.
Nitin's mother, Draupadi, stays with his sister in Mankhurd, and is in Virar for the last rites. "My son was the backbone of the family and the only earning member. Now that he is gone, we are all completely shattered.
We have no idea how we are going to manage without him," said Draupadi, who asked the government to ensure that proper planning is done and a policy is in place to help employees out when such tragedies occur.
Shubhangi's brother Sachin Ambetkar added, "We will have to think about the home loan and the girls' education and wedding. I have no idea how we will go about it. We are struggling to cope with his demise."
The family members hoped people would come forward to lend a helping hand, but stressed on the need for a permanent solution from the authorities so employees can plan for the future after such irreparable losses.