The smell of lit incense sticks and flowers pervaded the KSRTC bus station here on Thursday night, as employees and others waited for the arrival of the mortal remains of Perumbavoor native V.D. Gireesh and Piravom native V.R. Baiju, who used to take turns in steering the Ernakulam-Bengaluru-Ernakulam Garuda Volvo bus.
The ambulances bearing their bodies halted at the stand for a few minutes for people to pay their last respects. Close family members accompanied the bodies.
Among those in the crowd were women bus conductors and employees who stayed back after their shifts to have a last glimpse of their departed colleagues.
There were also people from the locality like Basheer of Kammattipadam who waited eagerly to pay tribute to the duo who were among the 20 persons who were killed in the accident involving the bus and a container lorry in Coimbatore in the early hours of Thursday.
“I am at a loss for words to describe the two amazing pair of colleagues who will be fondly remembered by us all,” said Ajith, a KSRTC employee. “They were also men of character,” he added.
Another employee, Sudheer, had been posted as conductor in the Mangaluru bus that Gireesh steered for over six months. “It was great working with him. He was an expert driver. He also had no qualms in halting the bus as requested by passengers,” Sudheer recalled.
Among those who turned up to pay tribute were Hibi Eden, MP, and T.J. Vinod, MLA, and District Collector S. Suhas. Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Chief Minister.