I will never forget the sight of the dead bodies coming into the hospital, one after another. On the day of my engagement, instead of celebrating, we picked up eight bodies. My house sits silently. No longer do you hear the joyful voices of children.
MORBI, India ꟷ On Sunday, October 30, 2022, I said goodbye to nine of my family members who went to visit the Morbi hanging bridge in India. We had my engagement ceremony scheduled for the next day. What should have been a joyful gathering turned into the worst day of my life. Out of my nine family members, only one returned after the hanging bridge collapsed, killing 135 people.
For several days before the accident, we excitedly prepared for the engagement ceremony at my home, where my fiancé and I would celebrate our future marriage with our family. With the decorations in place, tents erected in the backyard, henna applied to my hands, and the house lit up, guests began arriving from cities around India.
Read more stories out of India from Orato World Media.
As part of their visit, my brother, his wife, their two kids, and our cousins’ family decided to take a quick trip to the Morbi hanging bridge on the Machchhu River. It had become quite an attraction in the village with people coming from far away to experience it. It just reopened after 13 months of maintenance.
As the henna was placed on my hands, my niece came running in asking for chocolate. I told her I would get her some sweets as soon as they finished. I promised her. As my family got ready to leave, she reminded me again about the chocolate. She asked me to have it for her after returning from the bridge. I never spoke to my niece again. Only one person out of the nine returned that night. My cousin did not go on the bridge because heights make her dizzy. She watched her two children die before her eyes.
The tents in my backyard meant for our engagement party now serve as shade for the funeral coffins. In the very spot where my fiancé and I would have sat for our ceremony, four coffins occupy the space.
While I felt ready for my special day, I also remember the sensation of something troubling me that morning. I thought I had normal engagement jitters but remember feeling like I did not want my family to go to the Morbi bridge. I wanted to stop them, but could not bring myself to disturb the children’s excitement.
My younger brother heard the news of the bridge collapse first and rushed to the site, while my cousin returned home crying. It took my brother hours of rigorous search to locate everyone. I sat home, helplessly waiting for a miracle. When my father reached the hospital, he saw my brother’s and niece’s bodies laying there. For several more hours, he worked to locate the rest of the bodies. The doctor told my dad the water in the river where they plummeted to their deaths was polluted with chemicals. The thought of it troubles me.
We found out from my cousin who survived that day, she stood screaming for help, as she watched the children and our other family members lose hold of the bridge. She witnessed the bridge collapse and fall into the water. Crying uncontrollably, she sobbed, “I have lost everything.” It’s all she says since that day. Like many of us, she stopped eating and lives in a state of shock.
When I see my brother’s clothing and the children’s school books and toys, I think of their death. Every minute it consumes my mind. I feel guilty they came here for my party.
I will never forget the sight of the dead bodies coming into the hospital, one after another. I lost a brother, niece, nephew, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and my cousin’s family. My sister became a widow. On the day of my engagement, instead of celebrating, we picked up eight bodies. My house sits silently. No longer do you hear the joyful voices of children.
I wonder who to blame. We hear the government will give us some monetary compensation but it can never make up for our loss – for this murder. Because of negligence, I will never see my brother again; the person who served as my comfortable place, who would do anything for me despite his limited income.
Now my younger brother asks many questions and I have no answers. No one does. I want to see the responsible parties punished for this. The municipality says they knew the bridge remained unsafe but authorities opened it without their permission. We see resignations and protests, but nothing will bring my family back.
A month has passed. I try to forget but it feels like it would be better if we all died. My house feels barren. Everyone cries all the time. I have spoken little about this incident, but I speak now because I want people to know the truth. I want the criminals to be punished for opening a defective bridge and killing so many people.
Translations provided by Orato World Media are intended to result in the end translated document being understandable in the end language. Although every effort is made to ensure our translations are accurate we cannot guarantee the translation will be without errors.
Pledge to be a #ConsciousCitizen today and demand #GlobalCooperationNow! by signing this petition. Sign Our Petition.