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Cabbie's wife vows to keep his dream alive

A Ganesh Nadar | December 22, 2008

Moumina KhatoonThe Mumbai terror attacks brought terrible tragedy for Moumina Khatoon, but she won't give up hope.

Her husband Mohammad Umar, 35, drove the taxi that was destroyed in an explosion in Vile Parle, northwestern Mumbai, on the night of November 26.

That fateful evening, Umar had gone to get the taxi reluctantly. He was not in the mood to work, but told his wife, 'I will go and make some money for Id.'

His neighbours say he was always calm with a ready smile. He was easy-going and not very ambitious. He only wanted to educate his three sons and show his young wife the city and the world.

Umar, who helped out at his family's coal shop, drove a taxi to supplement his income.

After he got a license four years ago, he rented a taxi from its owner. His wife and children lived in Dafarpura village in Siddharth Nagar district, Uttar Pradesh [Images], until eight months ago when Umar brought his family to Mumbai. He rented a room in a slum colony in Govandi, northeastern Mumbai, for Rs 1,500 a month.

It was only after his family settled down in Mumbai that he admitted his eldest son Arbaaz, 6, to school. Arbaaz had not attended school back in UP.

The younger boys, Faisal, 3, and Afzal, 18 months old, take turns sitting in their mother's lap and running into the narrow lane their home is situated in, unaware of the tragedy that has befallen their family.

Moumina is small and frail, left alone in a cruel world with three young children.

But there is still hope. Last week she received a demand draft from Mumbai's collector for Rs 515,000 as compensation. She has deposited the sum in a bank and says she has been advised to put it in a fixed deposit and live off the interest.

Momina sounded a little more confident after she received the money.

She does not plan to return to her village. "I will stay here, " says the young widow who lost her husband to terror, "and educate my children."

After all, that was her husband's dream.

Image: Moumina Khatoon and her younger sons. Text and photograph: A Ganesh [Images] Nadar

Also see:

  • Terror's youngest victim
  • A last call to his wife
  • 'My father was not a Pakistani spy'
  • Heroes: 'Tukaram Omble deserves an Ashok Chakra'
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