Studious boys were rushing for classes on ill-fated morning

The four teenagers who were crushed to death while travelling on the footboard of a bus were on their way to school and college.

It was no joy ride but a mad scramble to get to school on time. Three hours after they left home, their bodies were brought to the Government Royapettah Hospital for post-mortem.

Manoj Kumar (18), a student of Central Polytechnic in Taramani, was passionate about speakers and sound systems. While his friends played cricket after classes, Manoj, a resident of Kallukuttai in Perungudi, tinkered with speakers, said his older brother Ranjith, a student of D.B. Jain College in Thoraipakkam.

On hearing of his death, Manoj’s friends gathered at the mortuary. His dejected father, K. Raj Kumar, a mason, sat there with his head in his hands. His mother works in a private firm.

Seventeen-year-old Vijayan was a meritorious student who shifted to English medium after coming in second at the school-level in class X. A student of Santhome Higher Secondary School, he had scored 1,144 marks in the recently-held pre-boards. “We were praying for a State rank for him,” said a cousin of his.

Vijayan’s father Udhay Shankar died in a bus accident two years ago and the family is yet to receive any compensation. “Vijayan’s mother has not received widow pension either,” said Anand, another cousin.

Residents of Kannagi Nagar, where Vijayan lived, said commuting is an ordeal as not enough buses were operated from the locality to the city. “There are only 25 services and all of us have been shifted out of the city to Semmancheri after the tsunami. It is because there is no bus from the PTC stop that Vijayan had to go to the next stop to board a bus,” a resident said.

Venil R. of Kudisai Makkal Vazhvurimai Iyakkam, said, “There should be separate buses for school children on this route.”

Sixteen-year-old Balamurugan’s father died three years ago.

The class X student from Semmancheri was the only hope for his family of three, including his two sisters aged 18 and 13.

His mother Mahalakshmi works as a domestic help in Kodambakkam.

Relatives of Sekar (18), a first-year B.Com student of Government Arts College, Nandanam, came to the mortuary around 2 p.m.

Sekar’s father Govindaraj sells sweets in Krishnagiri and his mother was too disturbed to come to the hospital. Sekar was a resident of Veerabhadra Street in Perungudi.

His uncle C. Pichaimani said he went to the GH after being told that the body had been shifted there. “But when we went there, we learnt that the body was in Royapettah GH. We lost much time,” Mr. Pichaimani said.

“Sekar was a quiet boy with a pleasant disposition,” he said. Sekar’s cousin said he loved playing cricket.

The families of the boys had to wait several hours to take possession of the bodies. They were also made to go to the Guindy police station for some paper work.

While most of the families sent their relatives to complete the formalities, Vijay Kumar’s mother Mahalakshmi wiped away her tears and set out to the police station herself.

She left behind her 13-year-old daughter Kalaiselvi in the care of her sister at the hospital.

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