BENGALURU: Madiwala Government Pre University College oversees the slum that 17-year-old Arun Kumar stayed in. While his own house is nothing more than a shack, one can see the houses from the first floor of the college. On Friday when the entire slum turned up to pay their respects to Arun, even the college corridors reverberated with the sound of the drums played at his procession.
Arun’s mother Sharavati remained inconsolable. His father Venkatesh runs a small shop outside the college where his son studied. He couldn’t keep his sobs down. “My son was just 17. He wasn’t even riding the bike, just sitting behind,” he said. Arun’s friends interrupted Venkatesh and retorted angrily, “It’s over. It’s unfortunate that he died. We don’t want any publicity.”
Posters with Arun’s photo were pasted on the college gate and on a few houses in the slum. Sunanda J C, Arun’s class teacher, remembers him as a well-behaved student. He studied History, Economics, Accounts, Business Studies, English and Kannada. The Madiwala government school and college are housed in the same building.
“He was an average student but character-wise and in terms of extending hospitality to others he was good. Since Class 1, he studied in the same institution. I didn’t know he drove a two-wheeler until yesterday. He wasn’t even driving, he was a pillion rider. I think he wasn’t wearing a helmet,” she said.
“Earlier, exams used to be held in our college but this was the first time that exams were held in a different centre. On Friday, he finished his exam in the Agara centre at 1:30 pm. On his way back home, the accident took place. I had never received complaints regarding him,” she recalled.
“We had students from other centres also coming in to give their exams. So lecturers and the principal had told students not to drive without licences and helmets. We’ve also asked them not to drive with four people on a single two-wheeler. He didn’t even own the bike. On Friday, it was his Economics exam. There were three more papers left - Business Studies, English and Kannada. Their exams will get over on March 27. Today, fortunately, there was no exam,” she said, adding that this gave his friends a chance to say a final goodbye.