|(Top) Subir and Trina Sen; and the family’s home on Sir Debaprasad Row near Sealdah station. Pictures by Amit Datta
Subir Sen, the 61-year-old patriarch of the Jabakusum brand, had asked his long-time domestic help to pack four packets of the popular hair oil before he left for his ancestral home in Burdwan’s Kalna on Saturday.
The parcel containing a preferred product from Bengal’s 130-year-old personal care brand was to be part of the offerings to the family deity on the occasion of Rakhi on Sunday.
It didn’t reach its destination. Nor did Sen.
Sen died in a car crash on Durgapur Expressway along with wife Trina, 48, and paternal cousin Tirtha, 60.
He was behind the wheels of his Swift DZire that apparently went under a stationary truck near Amiria village at Dadpur, Hooghly, about 55km from Calcutta.
Besides the trio, Tirtha’s wife Ratna was in the car. She suffered critical head injuries and fractured both her hands and legs.
She is currently undergoing treatment at a private hospital in south Calcutta.
The Sen couple’s teenaged daughter Shreya and Tirtha’s two sons — Pradyunnya and Uttriya — were in a Fiat Linea ahead of the Swift DZire.
The children stopped and decided to wait when they did not see their parents’ car trailing them.
“We stopped our car near a dhaba at Gurap. After waiting for 15 minutes I called my father on his cell phone. A stranger took the call and identified himself as a police officer. He informed us about the accident… that our parents have been taken to hospital. We immediately turned back and headed for the hospital,” said Pradyunnya, Tirtha’s elder son.
The four were rushed to Chinsurah Imambara Hospital, where doctors declared Subir and Tirtha, who were in the front left seat, and Trina dead on arrival.
An officer at Dadpur police station said: “Subir Sen lost control of the car and it overturned after hitting a divider. He was probably speeding.”
A police patrol spotted the mangled car with the passengers inside.
Tirtha’s brother Partha claimed that the car went under a truck parked on the road.
Sen’s friends and family members said he was an alert and cautious driver. “Subir has been driving for the past 42 years and I have never seen him speeding or driving rashly. He was a careful driver,” said M.L. Biswas, a friend who went to the Sen household on Sir Debaprasad Row near Sealdah station on Sunday.
On Friday night, Sen and his wife had gone to meet her relatives on Grey Street. “Subir uncle was fond of sweets from a shop in north Calcutta. We treated him to those,” said a nephew of Trina.
“The family used to visit without fail their home in Kalna on Durga Puja and Rakhi. Dada was planning this trip for quite some time. Before he left, he told me to take care of myself and the house,” said Mangal Ghosh, who has been serving the family for several years.
Ghosh said Sen had asked him to pack four packets of Jabakusum hair oil that he wanted to offer to the deity at his Kalna home during Sunday’s puja.
Sen’s company C.K. Sen and Co. Pvt Ltd manufactures Jabakusum along with a bouquet of other personal care products such as Basant Malati skin care lotion, ointments and hair packs. In the 1980s, actress Moon Moon Sen appeared in the print advertisements of Jabakusum.