It was a bus that was to take mother and daughter home. Instead, in a matter of seconds, the killer vehicle wrenched the mother from a six-year-old girl forever.
Little Antara watched her mother, Anjana Mandal, being run over by the rear wheels of the bus the woman was attempting to board, on Wednesday afternoon, after helping her daughter into it.
But the driver — driven by the lure of that one extra passenger at the stop ahead — did not give her a chance.
The bus started rolling even before Anjana could get a proper foothold.
She slipped and fell — only to be crushed under the rear wheels of the bus in which her daughter was waiting for her.
Wednesday had begun just like any other day for the Mandals of Ultadanga’s Muraripukur Road.
Antara left for school, Anjana dropping her there before returning home to finish her usual household chores.
Anjana left home again around 1.30 pm to bring her daughter home from school.
Around 2.15 pm, mother and daughter were waiting for a bus at the crossing of Maniktala Main Road and Raja Dinendra Street.
A bus that would take them to the Ultadanga crossing (route no. 46) trundled up a few minutes later and Anjana, as a matter of routine, helped her daughter up, with the conductor at the front gate lending a hand.
Anjana was in the process of following her daughter into the bus but the driver, with more Ultadanga-bound buses behind him, was in a hurry.
Even as Anjana was boarding the bus, he stepped on the accelerator.
The bus jerked forward, only to stop after other passengers raised an alarm.
But the damage had been done. Anjana slipped and fell on the tarmac and the left rear wheels of the bus ran over her lower abdomen and legs.
Passengers of the bus got down to pull out the woman from under the wheels. The driver and both conductors used the opportunity to flee the accident site.
Anjana was taken to RG Kar Medical College and Hospital, where she was declared “brought dead” by the doctors on duty.
The focus then turned to Antara, who had seen her mother dying in front of her eyes.
Traumatised by what she had seen and heard and numb with shock, she finally managed to tell bystanders where she lived.
Anjana’s death adds to the never-ending tale of tragedy on the city streets, with police just making half-hearted attempts to instil some method to the madness of the traffic.
Deputy commissioner (headquarters) Harmanprit Singh pronounced on Wednesday that the killer vehicle had been impounded and a search was on for the driver and both conductors.
But that, of course, is just not enough.