Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 July 2019

'She was our everything': family pay tribute to Dubai bus crash victim

The huge outpouring of grief for Roshni Moolchandani has made her family feel an entire emirate was crying with them

The family of an aspiring Indian model tragically killed in a horror bus crash in Dubai have paid tribute to their beloved "superstar".

Roshni Moolchandani, 22, was one of 17 passengers whose lives were cut short when a bus travelling from Muscat crashed into a sign post on Thursday evening.

On Sunday, relatives scattered petals over an urn containing Moolchandani's ashes and recited prayers a day after a funeral service was completed at a crematorium in Jebel Ali.

The family of Roshni Moolchandani have paid tribute to the budding model after her life was cruelly cut short in a bus crash in Dubai. Courtesy Five Palm Jumeirah
The family of Roshni Moolchandani have paid tribute to the budding model after her life was cruelly cut short in a bus crash in Dubai. Courtesy Five Palm Jumeirah

Her injuries were so severe that her body could not be sent to India for last rites. Instead, her family flew to Dubai from Ajmer in northern India’s Rajasthan state.

A crowd of friends and colleagues, who gathered on Saturday evening for her cremation, overwhelmed her family.

“Nobody can stop their tears when they remember her,” said Sapna Moolchandani about her younger sister.

“She was in Dubai for such a short time but the number of people at her funeral was more than what we expected in India. There were so many friends, photographers, designers. It made us feel like the entire city was crying for her.”

With 53,000 followers on Instagram, Moolchandani had aimed to make waves as a model.

“This was an incomplete dream but we will remember her as our superstar. She came to Dubai to follow her dreams,” her sister said.

“She always said she would be a superstar, however much time it took. She wanted the world to know her name. She wanted to be number one.”

Moolchandani also left her mark at the Five Palm Jumeirah, where she oversaw the hotel’s social media accounts.

“Roshni made a huge impact on our team,” said Claire Lay, director of marketing and communications at Five Hospitality.

“Roshni was young, bright, bubbly, fun and one of the most positive people to work with. A model in her spare time, Roshni would go to great lengths to find the best outfit in the most exotic location. Her sheer determination made all of us smile.

“Her death is a huge loss to us all. Her smiling face and zest for life will be deeply missed.”

Darpan and Sapna Moolchandani look at a photograph of their sister Roshni who died in a bus crash in Dubai on Thursday. Ruel Pableo for The National 
Darpan and Sapna Moolchandani look at a photograph of their sister Roshni who died in a bus crash in Dubai on Thursday. Ruel Pableo for The National

To her conservative family with no ties to fashion, Moolchandani was unusual and special.

Her father is the editor and owner of a local health newspaper, while her elder sister works in the software industry in Ajmer.

As a college student in Pune in western India, Moolchandani began competing in beauty pageants, winning many crowns.

She left India two years ago with dreams of catwalk success in Dubai.

“We are a normal, quiet family and cannot imagine the steps she took in her life,” Sapna Moolchandani said.

“Roshni had the belief to follow her passion but she remained a strong support for the family. She was our everything.”

Moolchandani's last conversation was with her younger brother Darpan. She told him she was heading back to Dubai after a great vacation in Salalah spending the Eid break with friends.

The Moolchandani family will soon return to India to complete the last rituals.

They will scatter Roshni’s ashes over the Beas River in Punjab after a 12-day mourning period during which ceremonies will be performed in Roshni’s home in Ajmer.

The family had a special word of thanks for Indian consulate officials, local authorities and the hotel who helped get them to the UAE and worked through the night to complete paperwork to release her body.

“These rituals are sacred to us because we pray for the peace of her soul so it was important for us to get the body in time and complete her cremation.”

Updated: June 9, 2019 08:39 PM

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