Mumbai, May 29 — The Sawaliwalas were sipping their morning tea and watching the news on television when news of the derailment of the Howrah-Kurla Gyaneshwari Express began flashing on screen. Hamir Sawaliwala (45) and his wife Asha (41) were on that train. They were returning to Mumbai. “I just hope my brother is alive somewhere,” said Hamir’s cousin, Ajay Panicker (28), a customer care executive with Mitashi. The Sawaliwalas lived in Tilak Nagar near Chembur with their two teenaged children, Dhaval and Archana, both college students. Hamir worked with an advertising agency. The couple had left for Kolkata 10 days ago to attend a family function. “Several relatives of Asha are in Kolkata and they had planned a get-together. They left the children in Mumbai because their classes were about to begin,” Panicker said. Until afternoon, the Sawaliwala family had only received news that Asha was injured but stable. “I had contacted my relatives at Kolkata who found out that my sister-in-law is being treated at a hospital,” said Panicker. But there was no news of Hamir. “There is lot of confusion here,” said Panicker, a resident of Chembur. “I have been waiting at the terminus since morning and I still don’t have a clear picture about Hamir’s whereabouts.” Panicker contacted the Kolkata service centre and found that Hamir’s name was on the first list of injured passengers. At Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, however, his name does not figure even in the second list. “They have not even released the names of the deceased,” said an annoyed Panicker.
Panicker had last spoken to Hamir on Thursday night. “Hamir had called to inform me that he was boarding the train at Howrah. We spoke every day,” he said.