“I have a firm belief that God always takes away good people early. I think this incident is quite a reflection on that.”
Vivek Handa was referring to his close friends, the Bhatia family of Tarneit, when making those comments at Thursday night’s vigil for the Daylesford hotel crash victims in Point Cook.
However, he could’ve been speaking about any of those killed when an SUV crashed into the beer garden of the Royal Daylesford Hotel on Sunday 5 November.
The shock of good people taken too suddenly, too soon hung over the vigil where victims, Vivek Bhatia and his eldest son Vihaan and Point Cook’s Pratibha Sharma, her husband Jatin Chugh and daughter Anvi, were honoured.
The plight of Vivek Bhatia’s wife Ruchi and youngest son Abeer, both still in hospital with serious injuries, was also at the forefront of proceedings.
“They were the epitome of immigrants wanting to make a career for themselves, to make a life for themselves,” said Mr Handa of the Bhatias, adding that the timing of the tragedy was especially cruel.
“They were very excited to get into a new house about 6 weeks ago,” he said.
“My last words to Ruchi were, this house is the house for a lifetime. That lifetime was only 6 weeks.”
Exrepssing sympathy and support for Ruchi Bhatia was a key feature of Mr Handa’s address.
“Her son’s gone, her husband’s gone and her other child is very very critical.
“For a parent to lose a child is very, very heartbreaking, probably the worst thing you can go through,” he said while imploring those gathered to keep Ruchi and Abeer in their thoughts.
“I think the real battle will start for the rest of her (Ruchi’s) life. People tend to have small memories, they forget. They move onto the next issue and the next issue, but if we pause and look back at Ruchi and her life to come, I think she’ll need a lot of help.”
That help has already begun, with a fundraising page set up within hours of the incident, already raising $136,000, nearly three times the original target.