Agra-based Indian designer, Sharda Whabi passed away at her house in Jaipuria Sunrise Colony on Monday. The city-based fashion designer died due to COVID-19 complications. She is survived by her husband and two sons who currently live in Dubai. She was 62.
According to TOI, her family members were unable to attend her last rites so the local police had to cremate her on Wednesday.
Reports suggest that Whabi was suffering from fever and sore throat. The designer was found dead at her home in Agra where she used to live alone. For the past few years, she had been spending more time doing social work. “In a matter of a year-and-a-half, she has developed a production unit of 100 workers, participated in various fashion shows, and has been featured in Indian magazines and television,” stated an article about her in the Gulf News, a Dubai daily, in 2002.
Whabi was based in Dubai for over 15 years before moving to India. She is married to hotelier Mahesh Whabi.
Agra Police’s Ekta chowki in-charge Shailendra Chauhan took to cremating Whabi’s body. Her sons, who live in Dubai, requested the police to get the cremation done as they were unable to fly to Agra amidst the travel restriction. Chauhan said that they cremated her body as per Hindu rituals and followed all COVID-19 protocols after an authority letter was sent to them by her son Arjun.
He added that Whabi’s help, Bacho Bari, connected her family on a zoom call while the last rite was performed. Her sons requested the police to hand over her ashes to the help.
Talking to TOI, Whabi’s son Arjun said, “We could not travel to Agra because of the flight restrictions and also the mandatory requirement for a negative RTPCR report for international travel.” Her relatives in Mumbai also couldn’t come due to health issues.
Remembering his mother, Whabi’s son noted, “Feeding animals and helping the needy was her main job and she sometimes designed gowns for brides and dresses for lord Krishna as part of her social work.” He further added that his father Mahesh Whabi is also in Dubai but is not keeping good health. He said that his mother used to frequently travel to Mumbai and Dubai to meet them.
Arjun Whabi added that he and his brother, Niranjan, spoke to Sharda at least three times in a day. “I called her on Sunday night too. She hadn’t been well for the past two-three days but things were under control. However, on Sunday her health took a turn for the worse. We tried arranging a doctor and also decided to fly to India the next day. But she died before that,” he said.
Feature Image Credit: TOI/amar ujala