When An Angel Visited Us

Her Early Years

Bhusawal is a small town in the state of Maharashtra, about 300 miles north of Mumbai, earlier known as Bombay. Situated on the banks of River Tapti, it has a calm and unhurried ambience. Probably, Gazal inherited her calm nature from that town.Sonal, Gazal and Madhu in the verandah of our house in Bhusawal

Gazal, in Bhusawal, a few months after she was bornGazal was born in Bhusawal on 28th April 1984. That fateful moment at 12.09 PM when God sent her to us as a gift of His unbounded love will always remain enshrined in our memory.A number of our friends were with us in the hospital when she was born. This capacity to draw and envelop other human beings to her like a magnet would remain with Gazal till the very end.

She was late in coming to this world;she was born 10 days after she was due. Perhaps to compensate for this delay, she was an epitome of punctuality in her life. We used to adjust our watches depending on the timings she used to follow.

We gave our child the name Gazal, on the suggestion of one of our Muslim friends, Mohd.Jamshed. Gazal in Urdu means 'a sweet poem' or 'a sweet song'. It was later to prove an apt description for her.

Sonal kissing Gazal good-bye before going to her school in Bhusawal

It is always an advantage to be in a small town when the children are young. We had a fairly big house surrounded by a beautiful garden. As such, the first two and a half years of Gazal's life were spent in the midst of nature, away from the artificiality of city life. This was later to result in her love for greenery and other gifts of nature.

Gazal and her papa, together, in Bhusawal Like in all small towns, we had a vigorous community life. The institution of the Railway Club is ubiquitous in all places where Indian Railway officers reside in some numbers. In Bhusawal, the Club is known as the Tapti Club. There used to be picnics to nearby places like Tapti river or to a forest reserve at a place called Pal or even to the famous Ajanta Caves (about an hour's drive from Bhusawal), a World-Heritage site. From the time she was one year old, Gazal used to take part in all these excursions with zest.

At other times, we used to organise various cultural programmes in Tapti Club. Despite her tender age, Gazal used to be always interested in taking part, either for reciting a poem or for singing a few lines from the latest Hindi film song or even for showing a few steps from a popular dance number.

At the time when Halley's Comet paid one of its periodical visits to earth, Gazal was around 2 years old. We still remember her enthusiasm when we were making plans to observe the comet in the middle of the night(through night binoculars) from the top of a nearby hill. Initially, we were a bit reluctant at the prospect of carrying a healthy child up a steep hill. However, eventually we took her (and Sonal) in a pram ! Gazal, Sonal and myself, at the Naldehra golf course in Shimla

Sonal and Gazal at the world-famous Taj Mahal, in Agra

Madhu, Gazal and Sonal at a beautiful beach in Goa

It was from Bhusawal that we took Gazal to see her first real hill station, a place called Shimla in the Himalaya Mountains, about 300 miles north of New Delhi. Gazal was overjoyed when she first saw the Narrow Gauge Rail Car which took us from Kalka(at tha foot of the hill) to Shimla, at 8000 feet. She shared in our exhiliration at the first view of the majestic mountains from the Rail Car. From our description of the cold weather on the mountains, she was expecting snow when we reached Shimla. She was disappointed not to find snow, though we were able to show her snow-capped peaks from a distance. We promised her that we would return sometimes in the winter, when Shimla gets plenty of snow. This was a promise we were unable to keep.

Our other trips with Gazal include the ones to Goa, a seaside town 400 miles south of Bombay, famous for its beautiful beaches and old churches, to Pachmarhi, a quiet hill station in the state of Madhya Pradesh, and to Agra, city of the Taj Mahal. We will always remember these trips and the fun we had along with Gazal.

We shifted to Bombay in the winter of 1986. Gazal was initially disappointed on finding herself in a small apartment in a high-rise building. However, she quickly adjusted to life in the big city. The nearby Rani Baug(or the Zoological Garden) was one of her favourite spots. It was like an oasis in the desert. In addition to the greenery, she marvelled at the various animals, most of whom she had seen for the first time in her life.Gazal and Sonal playing together in Bhusawal

In 1988 we shifted to a bigger apartment in South Bombay, the downtown area of the city. This is the apartment from where Gazal left for her final journey, with a brief stopover at the hospital.

Gazal, in Bhusawal, just learning to walk with Sonal keeping a watchful eye on her The first few years of our life in Bombay did not give any indication of the grim events which were to unfold later. At first, we got Gazal admitted to a nearby nursery school, and later, when she was 4, to the Fort Convent. At this time, Gazal also started receiving the first of the several offers she would eventually receive for modelling for TV advertisements. Keeping in mind her love for her school and her reluctance to miss her classes, we accepted only a few of these offers.
When she was around 6, Gazal modelled for raincoats, for foodstuffs and for confectionary. The shootings for the ads used to be like a family picnic outing for us, since such shootings were generally held outdoors, on the beach or in other beautiful surroundings. Gazal also used to enjoy herself, playing with Sonal and the other children participating in the shooting. Occasionally, when the filming used to be in an indoor studio, we were able to meet some famous personalities, including film stars. At one such shoot, Gazal could not believe her luck when she was able to meet Madhuri Dixit, at that time India's top film actress, who was shooting on an adjacent set. She was also my favourite actress !Gazal acting as a mermaid in a play, in Bombay

Gazal modelling for Craze Sweets, in Bombay

Gazal enjoying her mother's company, in BhusawalThe symptoms of the problem which was to later claim her life appeared a few months before Gazal's 7th birthday. The first brain surgery in February 1991, her response to the problem and the amazing recovery she made, strengthened our conviction that she was an extraordinary child.

Our Family   Her Early Years   Her Schooling Days
Bold & Beautiful   Caring & Compassionate
The Joys in her Life   Her Favourite Joke
Her Final Moments
Her Letter From Heaven
A Tribute From Classmates
Awards Received For This Site

View My Guestbook
Sign My Guestbook