Bharti Shahani was a daughter of Houston, a dutiful, first-generation Indian American — an A and B student in computer engineering at Texas A&M University.
So it was unusual when the 22-year-old senior who loved badminton, Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and her husky Blue, asked her parents to attend Travis Scott’s Astroworld concert. We don’t like going to concerts. As Karishma Shahani stood alongside relatives at their attorney’s offices, her mother said, “We don’t know what the concert is all about.”
Wednesday evening, Shahani became the ninth person to die from injuries sustained at the concert. In the chaos that ensued at the Astroworld Festival on Friday, she was separated from her older cousin and younger sister. She was in critical condition at Houston Methodist Hospital. Her family announced her death on Thursday.
” “My baby didn’t come back,” said her mother.
Karishma Shahani said she consented to her daughter attending the concert because she was “always giving” and “this is the first thing she asked me for herself.”
Houston police opened homicide and narcotics investigations following the deadly concert by the hometown rapper, but have yet to charge anyone. Autopsies for those who died — who ranged in age from 14 to 27 — were still pending Thursday, and more than a dozen lawsuits have been filed against Astroworld organizers. Calls have increased for an independent investigation because of Scott’s ties to city leaders.
Namrata Shahani, 20, a student at the University of Houston, recalled how excited her older sister had been as she prepared for Astroworld, planning and trying on outfits for her. She was holding her hand when she last saw her.
” The last thing she said was “Are you okay?” Shahani stated.
The crowd grew, and Bharti disappeared.
Cousin Mohit Velani found her hours later in the emergency room of nearby Houston Methodist.
“I was assuming she’d just be dehydrated,” said Velani, 25.
Doctors told him she’d already suffered two heart attacks and was on a ventilator. He said that he saw her with tubes in her throat when he entered the room.
Shahani’s parents stayed in intensive care with her for the past six days, “so whatever time is left, we can spend with her,” father Sunny Shahani said. They didn’t go to sleep. Their daughter was unresponsive. They said that Blue, the dog she had adopted, was still searching for Bharti Shahani at home.
At 6: 50 p.m. Wednesday, doctors pronounced Bharti Shahani dead. Within 48 hours, she would be removed from the ventilator, her parents said, her organs donated, as was her wish.
Shahani’s family said they have not been in touch with Travis Scott, whose attorneys issued a statement Thursday urging victims’ families to contact them. According to relatives, the Shahanis claimed that they have not been in touch with any other victims’ families, including those of Ezra Blount, a 9-year-old from north Texas. Blount was put in a medically induced sleep coma and ventilator after being trampled during the concert.
“Ezra I’m going to fight for you no matter what I love you so much and can’t no one tell me any different #keephopealive,” father Treston Blount posted on Facebook late Thursday. According to a hospital spokesperson,
Ezra was still in critical condition as of Thursday evening.
The Shahanis and their lawyer stated that they intend to hold the organizers of the concert responsible and do everything they can to prevent future disasters.
” They suffocated. They did the same to Bharti. Velani stated that they did this to Bharti, a 9-year-old boy who is fighting for his life in the ICU. “There are so many families grieving right now.”