BENGALURU: A year ago, Home Guard Bharathi Madkar was diagnosed with breast cancer but she successfully battled it. She took only three months leave of absence, returned to work and was posted as a guard at Rachenahalli Lake in the city. But while she did not let cancer crush her life, a tree would.
After heavy rain lashed Bengaluru on Friday, a tree came crashing down on her car, in which she, her husband Ramesh M and brother Jagadeesh M were travelling. They had incidentally come to get the car’s front screen repaired when the tree fell near Minerva Circle. While her brother and husband Ramesh died instantly, she was heard screaming for nearly half an hour, eyewitnesses said. The locals tried to help and despite their best efforts to extricate her, she succumbed to her injuries. Bharathi was wearing her uniform when she died.
On Saturday, standing outside Victoria Hospital’s mortuary, waiting for the Mayor to arrive, her nephew Santosh Kumar told Express, “She had breast cancer a year ago. She and Ramesh mama (uncle) had mortgaged all the gold they had as her treatment cost Rs 2.5 lakh. Ramesh mama is a garment unit worker. After taking all those injections she was fine and went back to work.”
Bharathi was the youngest of four siblings. Her sister Rajeshwari said, “She had been taking treatment at Kidwai Hospital. If she had died of cancer, we would have been comforted by the thought that she at least tried her best to survive. But a tree?”
Another sister Rekha said, “Despite having no savings, she never complained to Rajeshwari or me. She also took care of our aging parents as long as she could for two years when they lived with her.”
“Not just cancer, she was also tending to her 17-year-old son Rahul who is a stroke patient. Rahul is most attached to his mother. While Ramesh mama had modest earnings, she helped to take care of their sons,” Santosh said.
Bharathi’s colleagues from the Home Guard Central Unit thronged the mortuary.