“We just couldn’t bear to sit at home and watch the hospital burn on television.”
That is how Rishabh Badoni and Aavirash Mitra of La Martiniere for Boys, living in Jodhpur Park and Lake Gardens, had felt on the morning of December 9, exactly a year ago. They had then rushed to AMRI Hospitals, Dhakuria, to help in the rescue operation.
On Sunday, they were back at AMRI Hospitals, Dhakuria, this time in the evening to light candles for the departed. By then the mourners (in graphic left) had moved to Safari Park.
Aavirash, of Class XII, and Rishabh, of Class XI, shared their thoughts with Metro:
We were very aware that Sunday was December 9, the day that had brought us face to face with death. We knew we needed to be at the site where so many lives were lost.
We reached AMRI around 6pm. We thought there would be a huge congregation, with Calcutta gathering to remember the people we had lost that day, pray for their souls and express solidarity with the bereaved families.
But there were just 50 people, some waving a party flag. We thought the group was there to light candles but soon we learnt that a political leader was at the site. Most people left when the neta left.
There were some 10 people left, from the nearby slums, mostly kids playing with the candles, two people who were praying and us two boys.
We lit candles, and prayed for the families that had lost their loved ones, hoping that they had gathered the strength to deal with their loss. And we prayed that such a tragedy never happen again.