The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shock, silence and sobs
- Five-year-old knows mother has become a star in heaven

'Aami jani Ma star hoye gechhey, Ma heaven-e choley gechhey (I know my mother is now a star in the sky, she has gone to heaven).'

Five-year-old Sayak Sinha, lying on a bed in SSKM Hospital, responding to his grandfather's feeble assurances that his mother was alive and well.

Little Sayak had seen what his grandfather had not 'mother Shakuntala being crushed under the wheels of the bus that would otherwise have taken them to St James School on Thursday morning.

Bijoy Banerjee, Sayak's grandfather, tried to convince the boy with the gentle words, 'Ma will come soon, there is no need to worry.' Sayak, staring into nothingness, managed to mumble: 'She won't come'

The grandfather burst into tears. 'I don't know what to tell him now,' cried the 65-year-old dental surgeon, who had lost his only daughter to the wheels of the bus on route 230.

In hospital, Sayak was unusually quiet. He underwent plastic surgery on his left hand, bore a bandage on his head, and nursed injuries on his right leg. Yet, he was not complaining of any pain.

He just lay still, even when being taken in an ambulance from SSKM to Belle Vue in the afternoon.

'We tried speaking to the boy, but he is too shocked to talk,' said deputy commissioner (traffic) Javed Shamim.

Sayak's father Sanjiv had not returned to town from Bhubaneswar till then. He landed later in the afternoon and rushed to Belle Vue to be with his son. It was then that Sayak crumbled. 'Dad, Dad, take me home' I don't want to stay here' Take me to where Ma is' he sobbed.

Relatives and Shakuntala's friends had rushed to SSKM Hospital by afternoon. 'It's unbelievable' She was such a darling, she always loved to be surrounded by people. She's so young' cried Sulagna Saha, whose son studies with Sayak.

Some teachers from St James, where Shakuntala was a stop-gap teacher in the junior section and where Sayak studied in Transition, her friends and relatives, all started trickling in ' at hospital and morgue.

The flat at 5B, Russel Street from where Shakuntala and Sayak had started out on Thursday morning, remained locked. 'There is no one here now,' said the security guard.

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