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KSRTC bus tragedy: A change in plan cost Gopika her life

On Thursday morning Gokulanatha Kaimal, a retired ESI employee, and Varada Devi were eagerly waiting for their daughter, Gopika Gokulanathan, who had last visited home three weeks ago.

Published: 21st February 2020 06:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st February 2020 11:14 AM   |  A+A-

Justice P Somarajan consoles Gokulanatha Kaimal father of the deceased Gopika Gokulanathan at their residence on Thursday.

Justice P Somarajan consoles Gokulanatha Kaimal father of the deceased Gopika Gokulanathan at their residence on Thursday. (Photo | Albin Mathew, EPS)

Express News Service

KOCHI: TK Varada Devi, who works as private secretary to High Court Judge Justice Devan Ramachandran, had approached him on Wednesday evening with a request. “Sir, I will be a bit late tomorrow morning as my daughter is arriving from Bengaluru,” she said. And the judge readily granted permission.

On Thursday morning Gokulanatha Kaimal, a retired ESI employee, and Varada Devi were eagerly waiting for their daughter, Gopika Gokulanathan, who had last visited home three weeks ago. But what they received was the shocking news of the accident at Avinashi.

A pall of gloom descended on Thengumpillil house near Kannankulangara temple at Tripunithura, when all attempts to contact Gopika, 23, a software engineer, over phone failed. In a frantic effort, the family started contacting people at Tirupur and KSRTC authorities to get the whereabouts of their only child. And finally the shocking news arrived and the family struggled to come to terms with the bitter reality.

“One of my friends working at a public sector bank in Tirupur contacted the hospital authorities and confirmed the news. I had sent a photograph of Gopika to him through WhatsApp and he identified her using this image,” said Sarath, a relative.   

According to the relatives, Gopika got employed as a software engineer with Allgo Embedded System in Bengaluru roughly a year ago. As the news spread, relatives started arriving and nobody could console Varada Devi, who collapsed on hearing the news. A heartbroken father sat on a sofa in the house hiding his emotions in a blank stare.

According to the relatives, a change in her travel plan cost Gopika her life. Gopika had initially decided to start from Bengaluru on Thursday evening along with her friends. “However, she changed her plan as she was told that there will be traffic block at Aluva on Friday as thousands will be arriving to pay obeisance to their forefathers. She decided to start a day early while her friends stayed back,” said Sarath.

“Gopika had sent me a WhatsApp message on Wednesday evening after boarding the bus informing that she would be arriving on Thursday morning. I asked her whether she would arrive before her mother left for office and she replied that she would arrive much early. But what I received in the morning was the shockling news,” said Balachandran V K, a neighbour.

“She was brilliant in her studies and she got placement through campus recruitment. She studied at Model Engineering College, Thrikkakara, and was the Cusat topper in 2017-18 BTech exams. She was a rankholder in the Plus-II examinations,” said Sarath. Justice Devan Ramachandran and Justice P Somarajan visited the house and consoled the bereaved family. The body was brought to Tripunithura around 11 pm on Thursday and kept at the taluk hospital. The funeral will be held on Friday, according to the relatives.

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