Kolkata Apr 23: Mahesh Agarwal, the owner of Haldiram Bhujiyawala (Pratik Food Products), died in Singapore on Friday, a little past midnight (as per IST). He was suffering from critical liver ailment and was undergoing treatment at a hospital there for three months. Agarwal was to turn 57 on Saturday.
Given the current circumstances, the distraught family had to agree to the cremation of the body there on Friday itself, following rules of that country, that do not follow the Hindu cremation system. Agarwal’s bereaved wife Meena and daughter Avni, who had been with him through this time, are desperate to return home but are finding it impossible to do so in the current situation
The mother and daughter duo has tried to reach out to the embassy by filling out a form online that all Indians stuck in Singapore are doing. The country is supposed to go in for a lockdown from Tuesday and as per the news that Meena and Avni have been able to gather, Indians have been told that a flight would be organised to bring them back to Delhi in the wee hours of Wednesday, for which there is a scramble
“We couldn’t save father but the business back in Kolkata has suddenly been left orphaned and we have to go back to save it…” said Avni from Singapore. Agarwal has a son and three daughters. Eldest son Pratik is in Kolkata, elder daughter Anchal is a scientist and works with Sandisk in San Francisco, while younger daughter Antara is studying maths and computer science at Durham University. Agarwal had a critical liver ailment and was flown in to Singapore in January where the family was assured of a transplant. The surgery was successful but he had developed an infection after he was shifted from the ICU to high dependency unit
“The infection generated from candida auris, according to the papers we have received from the hospital,” Avni said.
The family was told that since Agarwal died of an infection, no risk could be taken about his last rites; the body would be sealed in a plastic bag along with the tracheostomy tubes that he was carrying and put inside an electric incinerato
“We had to agree…it was so heart breaking to see him go that way… but we were helpless,” Avni added. The ashes have been stored separately and the family will be allowed to take the urn at the time of leaving the country.
“We hear that no flights/trains are operating till April 15. How to reach Kolkata …we are writing to all our relatives to connect with ministers, bureaucrats both at the Centre and in the state,” Avni said.