City Landmark – A Civic Mortuary, Gurgaon
A face of life.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
A yard lined with rooms, a small temple under a banyan tree and a few bare hospital-like stretchers.
This is not a place you would like to visit even in your worst nightmare, but this too, is a part of our world.
This is Gurgaon’s only civic mortuary, or murdaghar, where dead bodies are brought for post-mortem examinations. One of the rooms houses the office of the special forensic officer.
It is morning and no dead body is here presently, giving the visitor ample time to observe the place.
The walls of the yard are plastered with the ads of eye donation banks. The notice on a water cooler informs that it was installed by the sons of a “marble and granite firm” to commemorate the memory of their “swargiya” (departed) father.
The only life discernible in the murdaghar at the moment is towards a corner where a tin shed shelters a few benches and tables. A khaki-clad cop is working on his files. Another cop is listening to film songs on a mobile. Also present are a few young men idly slouching about the benches; some are playing cards. They are the ambulance drivers, waiting for emergency phone calls to pick up bodies from hospitals and highways.
Their ambulances are parked under the roadside trees.
“You see lots of life’s realities in this work,” says Anup, one of the drivers.
“There are days when you don’t see a single body and then there are days with five or six bodies coming to the mortuary,” says driver Ram, adding matter-of-factly, “We brought two bodies last night.”
Now a cop approaches, informing of the discovery of a lawaris (unclaimed) body. Ram gets up to leave.
Outside, a flier is stuck beside the mortuary’s gate, showing the grainy picture of Shrimati Ghulab Devi, a disappeared woman. She was last seen at 9am on August 12.
Wish you’ll never be here