When city of dreams turned nightmare for taxi driver's family

When city of dreams turned nightmare for taxi driver's family

His father Mohammed Umar Sheikh was killed in the blast on Western Express Highway near domestic airport in suburban Vile Parle on the frightful night of 26/11 while driving the taxi in which the merchants of terror had planted a bomb.

This was the only bomb blast in the suburb as most of the killings had taken place in south Mumbai during the attack. “I don’t like Mumbai anymore. The city gave me a decent life, but snatched away my husband who toiled hard often, driving taxi late into the night,” Sheikh’s widow Momina Khatoon said.

Momina was pregnant when her husband met with a tragic end. Farhan is the youngest of the four children of Sheikh, who came here from Basti district in Uttar Pradesh.

“My four children (eldest is around seven years) have lost their father and I have lost the bread winner of my family. Life has come to a standstill. I neither have a decent job to support my children nor a house of my own,” a sobbing Momina said.

“I earn a meagre Rs 25-40 a day by making flower garlands. My children are small and they need me... due to which I am unable to concentrate on my work,” Momina said.

Though I get an interest of around Rs 4,000 a month from the Rs 5 lakh which the government has deposited in my bank account, but the exorbitant rise in prices of food items, besides electricity charges, house rent and medical expenses, amongst others have made life difficult for me, she said.

“I pay around Rs 1,500 as house rent. Besides, other expenses like water, electricity and medical bills take away a major chunk of my income... Imagine how can I feed my children with what is left,” she said.

“I want my children to study and stand on their own feet. Had they been young enough they could have worked part time at tea stall or garage to supplement my income and help run the kitchen. Only Allah knows what fate has in store for us,” she said.