Lost in despair
Adhir Das does not mourn his wife anymore.
He has lost his job. His eldest daughter 18-year-old Arati has been taking treatment at a hospital with her right leg cut off. At home, his three children -- Lovely, 9, Lucky, 7, and Akhi, 2, await their father to get food for them.
"God only knows how they [the children] will survive. I don't know how I will take care of them," he says while talking to The Daily Star yesterday.
Worries seem to have taken over the loss of his wife Titon Bala Das, a garment worker, who died in the collapse of Rana Plaza at Savar outside Dhaka on April 24.
A construction worker, Adhir, 45, who was working on the rooftop of the nine-storey building that day, narrowly escaped the disaster with minor injuries. He saw his three fellow workers die while another one broke one leg.
Both Adhir's wife Titon, 40, and daughter Arati worked at New Wave Style on the sixth floor of Rana Plaza. Three days into the crash, he found Titon's body at Adhar Chandra High School, a kilometre from the building, where the dead were being brought for identification.
Arati was rescued on the same day from the wreckage. Her right leg had been so badly squashed between the piles of concrete that it had to be amputated to keep her alive.
Before the tragedy, Adhir, Titon and Arati together earned Tk 15,000 a month, with Adhir contributing the biggest chunk of Tk 8,000.
Arati is being treated at Enam Medical College Hospital for free. But Adhir is now all by himself to meet the day to day expenses of the five-member family.
Adhir was an employee of the building owner, Sohel Rana. "Rana is in jail. The other office staff are not answering phone calls. Where will I go to claim my salary for the month of April?" he said.
Arati got Tk 10,500 in salary and benefits from Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association but that will not pay off the living and education expenses of her three siblings for long.
No compensation has been fixed yet for the garment workers who died in the collapse.
"I do not know whether her [Titon] arrears will be paid," said Adhir who is in desperate need for money. Unfortunately, her company ID card is lost and neither Arati nor Adhir can remember the card number.
When asked as to how he would prove to the authorities that Titon had been an employee of New Wave Style, he said her colleagues in the machine operation section would speak for her.
Suddenly brushing aside all the problems, Adhir remembers his youngest daughter, Akhi.
“My two-year-old child often looks for her mother. I cannot even give her the care she should get as I am to be with Arati."