Kolkata: Rachit Dhandhania from New Alipore, who is grappling with the death of his mother Minu Dhandhania (49), who was killed in an alleged drink-driving accident on EM Bypass on June 16, has been rallying youngsters to take a stand against driving under the influence.
“Across the city, and the world, there is no way that a drunk person can be allowed to take the steering wheel. Our motto is simple: drinking at a legal age is perfect, drink driving is not,” Rachit told TOI. The 23-year-old youth is a second-year MBA student at MICA, Ahmedabad.
Rachit has got together his friends, cousins, college mates and some even from his institute’s management for the campaign. “We are attending the hearing every time the accused is being produced in court. We will seek our justice and will ensure we fight for it. But that is one part of the campaign. We are rallying everyone together to ensure a person, who has had too much alcohol to drink, hires a driver. We do not want more lives to be lost on the ground due to someone’s negligence. We want to spread awareness as well as ensure justice for victims of drink-driving. At present, we are at home and we are rallying support through social media,” said Rachit.
It was on June 16 that the Dhandanias—Minu, her husband Devkishan (51), sons Rachit and Aryan (19)—were returning from a trip to Thailand, where they had gone to celebrate the parents’ 25th wedding anniversary. “I had wanted to drive myself. Our family driver, Mishraji, had driven our car to the airport. Around 1am, we had reached the Beliaghata crossing on EM Bypass and had stopped at a traffic signal. We were discussing the immediate future. My mother wanted us to have the best of education, and she made us dare to dream in a similar manner,” said Rachit. Even as they waited at the signal, a luxury car smashed into their vehicle. “My mother was sitting in the middle. I still do not know what killed her as the post-mortem report is awaited. My father was taken to hospital,” he said. It turned out the luxury car was being driven by a chartered accountant, Rahul Kedia (33), who was allegedly drunk.
For the Dhandanias, life changed in a flash. Running around to complete the formalities around his mother’s death and to take care of his father, who suffered multiple rib fractures, Rachit had not realized that his a left rib bone was also damaged. The doctor subsequently asked him and his brother, Aryan, who suffered sever muscle spasm, to take complete bed rest. Devkishan has . Their driver has also suffered rib injuries. The two brothers probably cannot join their educational institutes—Aryan studies at Narsee Monjee Institute of Business Studies in Mumbai—before the end of July as advised by their doctors, though Rachit says he may have to make a decision earlier. Devkishan, too, may take some more time to join back family business. “We will let the doctors make the final decision,” he said.
“I am losing out on important credits as classes have started again. My mother’s last wish was to see us academically successful. We will ensure her dream is fulfilled even as we fight for justice, which, too, will not be compromised on,” said Rachit.