NEW DELHI: “Ghar ka dhyaan rakhe bhaiya… Aaj toh gaya main… Kal ko lene aa jaiyo (Take care of people at home brother… I think I will die today… Come and get my body tomorrow).” These were the last words of Musa, one of the 43 victims of the blaze in the Anaj Mandi building, to his neighbour Monu.
Musa broke down a couple of times, his voice trembling. He kept wheezing as breathing got difficult. “Ab saans bhi nahi aa rahi hai bhaiya…. Bhaiya kya hoga bhaiya? Bhaiya gaye ab toh. Ab do chaar minute ka maamla hai (Can’t breathe… What will happen? I am gone. It is a matter of few minutes now).”
Horror, pain and suffering – this was what came to the fore from the recording of the two phone calls made by 30-year-old Musa (Musharraf Ali) to his neighbour in Bijnor, Monu (Shobhit Agarwal), on Sunday morning. He had been working in the factory for the past four years.
After a couple of moments of groaning in pain, Musa, a father of four, inquired whether Monu was still there on the other side.
“Hello?” When he got an answer, he made some final pleas. “Theek hai bhaiya Monu? Jaisa taise mera ghar chala liyo… Bachchon ke bade hone tak… Ya Allah… Abhi kisiko mat batana… Aram se batana… Aur taiyyari karliyo aane ka. (Ok? Take care of my family… Till my kids grow up…. Don’t tell anyone now… Tell them later… and make arrangements to come here).”
He also asked Monu to collect Rs 5,000 from someone (whose name was inaudible) in Nizamuddin. “Karlenge bhaiya… Tu tension mat le… aa rahe hain bhaiya… Woh gaadi nahi aayi? Gaadi aayi kya? Fire brigade?… Koshish kar bachne ki… Nikalne ka raasta nahin hai?” Monu asked frantically. There was no way to run, came the reply.
Later outside the morgue at Lok Nayak Hospital, Furqan Salim, Musa’s brother, said, “I identified his body. Police told me that they’ll hand it over after the autopsy. He had no burn marks and it seems he died because of suffocation. I’m worried about his four children.”
Mohammad Afzal, one of the survivors being treated at Lady Hardinge Hospital, recounted how he managed to stay alive. “I was sleeping on the third floor when the fire started. There were 11 others in the room,” he said.
For the next two hours, Afzal kept breathing intermittently while covering his mouth with a cloth. “I remained close to the window, but it was too high for me to jump out. I was rescued around 5.30am by policemen. I don’t remember anything else,” he said.
Coming out of the mortuary at Lok Nayak Hospital after identifying the body of his brother Sajid (23), an inconsolable Wajid (28) almost fell to the ground and had to be helped to his feet by his relatives. Wajid was finding it difficult to come to terms with the fact that he managed to escape the blaze, while his brother perished. A relative said he failed to pick up his younger brother, who suffocated to death.