“We are one step closer to rebuilding our lives,” said an emotional Maya Kumaramangalam. On Thursday, the Kumaramangalam family, whose home in Kaverinagar was illegally razed a week ago when they were away at work, had a housewarming ceremony and a puja for the rebuilt structure.

The puja was a private affair, with only Ms. Maya, a nurse, her husband Mr. Kumaramangalam, a paramedic, and their 11-year-old son in attendance. They were later joined by some friends and neighbours.

The couple have managed to build a small home with just one room, a bathroom and a kitchen.

“We have spent more than Rs. 1.5 lakh on the construction, though the local MLA sent a lorry-load of sand and cement bricks. I had to sell my jewellery that I had made for my wedding,” Ms. Maya said.

The Kumaramangalams, who are living with their neighbours, are grateful for the help extended by not just their friends and colleagues, but also strangers.

“We lost everything we owned. We just had the clothes on our back. Our friends bought us clothes and even toothbrushes and paste. Such a fate should not befall even our worst enemy,” Ms. Maya said.

Ready in a week

Mr. Kumaramangalam said that in about a week, their house would be ready for them to move in. Work on plastering and flooring was yet to be completed.

Construction was stopped briefly for a couple of hours on Tuesday when Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) engineers came to the site and asked him to produce property documents and then resume construction. The engineers relented only after the intervention of local councillor Y.R. Gowramma and the police, he added.

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