His cycle remained parked on the second- floor landing as 11-year-old Aryan Dutta left his home on Duff Street, Maniktala, in a hearse on Wednesday.
The Class VI student at DPS New Town died on Tuesday evening, hours after choking on a biscuit during the school break. “We do not know what happened yesterday and perhaps we will never know,” said Arijit Dutta, the boy’s uncle. “We cannot blame the school completely because the incident happened during the recess and we do not know what had gone wrong. But it took 20 minutes to reach the hospital and we suspect that he was already sinking by then.”
The Duttas have not lodged an official complaint but a case of unnatural death was registered at Bidhannagar South police station on Tuesday night after the Salt Lake hospital, where Aryan was admitted, intimated the police.
A team from New Town police station, under which DPS New Town falls, visited the school, accompanied by Aryan’s father, at 8.30am on Wednesday. The police spent around 45 minutes at the school, during which they spoke to the principal, went to the second-floor classroom where the incident occurred and the ground-floor clinic where Aryan was first taken. The head nurse who had tried to revive Aryan is trained to assist doctors in an operating theatre.
“We also spoke to two of Aryan’s classmates with whom he was eating his tiffin. He was having a biscuit and we enquired whether they were having the food in a hurry,” said a police officer, ruling out foul play.
The school has alerted all teachers and guards to keep an eye on the students even during recess. Teachers were found checking on them during lunch break on Wednesday.
“We told them you have to be careful while eating. We gave them examples like while pouring diesel in a car, the car has to be still and not moving, similarly while eating we have to sit down and chew properly and not swallow in a hurry,” said a teacher.
No classes were taken in Aryan’s section on Wednesday and a minute’s silence was observed in the morning assembly. The school has declared Thursday a holiday.
The boy’s body was taken from the hospital to RG Kar hospital around 12.45pm on Wednesday for post-mortem.
Outside the morgue at RG Kar hospital, Palak Dutta waited to take his son home one last time. The boy emerged, dressed in a maroon sherwani and beige churidar, but the father, his hands clasped and tears streaming down his cheeks, didn’t turn to look.
The hearse passed his car and headed for the Duttas’ home. Palak followed quietly.
As the cortege stopped outside the three-storey building at Duff Street, mother Swati was inconsolable. Family members took her inside but she kept shouting from the second-floor window, “Amio jabo or sathe, amake niye cholo, (I too will go with him, please take me along)”.
“Ami aschhi (I’ll be back),” gestured Palak to his wife as he joined Aryan, now strewn with red roses, on the final journey. Dusk had set in by then.