Similarly, three sisters, Radhika Pardhi (12), Monica (9) and Madhuri (4), have lost seven relatives.
Being in a boarding school saved the lives of Vasant, the Pardhi sisters and many other children, but now, in all likelihood, they have been orphaned.
Vasant Pirkad was at the Mangawadi ashramshala, a residential school for tribal children in Karjat, when the landslide occurred. On Saturday, a relative took him to a relief camp near his home in Khalapur.
Wearing a T-shirt with an image of Lord Ganesha printed on it and blue pants, the Class 4 student stood silently in the camp, looking around. When a villager asked him when he had last seen his parents, he shrugged and bit his lower lip.
Massive landslide in Maharashtra’s Raigad: Several rescued, many feared trapped
Vasant has been studying at the ashramshala for the past four years and used to come to Irshalwadi during the summer holidays.
His parents are still missing. Authorities said a body recovered from the rubble on Saturday was initially said to be that of his father, Madhu Pirkad, but later turned out to be that of another villager, who shared the same name.
Like Vasant, Radhika and Monica were also at school in Matheran while their younger brother Madhuri was staying with a relative in Karjat. On Saturday, the two older girls asked where their parents were, as the younger one was sleeping peacefully in the relief camp.
His parents had visited the school in June. “They spent an hour with us at school. We don’t know where they are now,” Radhika said. Her younger sister, Monica, said: “Some people from our wadi (village) are here at the moment, but no one from our house is around.”
None of those present at the scene had the courage to tell the girls about the tragedy. The sisters’ missing relatives include their parents, grandparents, two paternal uncles and an aunt.
A tribal department official, Pradip Solaskar, said the revenue department was collecting the names of orphans, survivors and their relatives. “We will make sure that the orphans receive help and care,” he said.