Parula Biswas lost three of her family members in Friday's tragic bus-train collision in Jhenidah. Nothing could console the grieving 70-year-old, before whom the bodies of two grandchildren and a daughter-in-law were being carried to a crematorium for last rites.
She spoke not a word. Only tears rolled down her weary wrinkled cheeks as this correspondent visited her at Nishchintapur in Kaliganj upazila yesterday.
Her elder son Bhabesh Biswas was sitting beside her on the veranda, nursing the wounds he had received in the accident. Though he survived the deadly mishap, his daughter Trishna Biswas could not.
Trishna was an MA student of philosophy at Dhaka's Eden College. She had appeared in her MA final examinations and gone home on Eid holidays. She would return to Dhaka for her viva voce test after the holidays.
"I requested them not to go to the wedding. If only they had listened to me!" wailed Trishna's bereaved mother Kalpana Rani as she frequently banged her head against a bedstead.
"At times, we felt it hard to bear her educational expenses. Trishna would then tell me, 'Don't worry, Maa. Endure the hardship for now. I will run the family when I get a job.' Now who will take care of us?" she said, holding a photo of her daughter against her chest.
Parula's younger son Ranjan Biswas is bed-ridden in the grief of losing his wife Banya Biswas and his son Kawshik, a grade four student. When this correspondent went to him, a blank look was all he gave.
His elder son Nishan Biswas, 22, was lying on another bed with a fractured lower jaw. He too had gone to the wedding of their relative Tapas Kumar Biswas and was returning in the bus that was crushed by a train at a level crossing. Eleven people were killed and 60 injured, some critically, in the tragedy.
Three days into the tragedy, a pall of gloom still hung over the home of the bereaved family as this correspondent made his way out of the place.