'How do I tell my son his father will never come home again?' asks Shilpa, whose husband was killed in the accident

An allegedly drunk underage driver snuffed out lives and dreams of this Hyderabad family
news Road Accident Saturday, July 16, 2016 - 14:16

Three-year old Ritesh keeps asking for his father all the time, says his mother Shilpa, her own grief kept barely under the surface as she talks to The News Minute. “Where’s Papa? I keep telling him he is on his way… in an aeroplane… coming soon to meet us… I have no idea, how long will I lie? Whenever my mobile rings, he comes rushing to ask whether it is his Papa. How do I tell him his father will never come again?”

On July 1, Ritesh’s father, Pammi Rajesh, met with a tragic accident in Banjara hills along with four other relatives. Rajesh and his nine-year old niece Ramya were both killed in the accident, while Ramya’s grandfather is in a critical condition, and her mother Radhika and uncle Ramesh were injured.

In 2012, Shilpa (now 27 years old) got married to Pammi Rajesh in an arranged match. The couple had been planning to settle in the US with their son, and were to leave the country in a month or so. But in a flash, a rash, young, allegedly drunk driver shattered all their dreams, when his out-of-control car rammed into the family vehicle on its way home after picking Ramya up from her new school.

"On that day, Rajesh had called me around 3:20 pm and asked me to have lunch ready for all and that we would have it together, but then never made it...” Shilpa breaks off mid-way.

After a pause, she goes on: "I waited till after 4pm… and then tried calling him, but no response. I kept trying. Finally after umpteen attempts, the call was answered by the ambulance driver who told me about the accident. Within minutes, Radhika too called but was too traumatized to tell me much."

She immediately rushed to Yashoda hospital in Somajiguda but was delayed by heavy traffic. “My parents who stay in Secunderabad made it to the hospital before me. They told me that they managed to see only Radhika, Ramesh and Ramya’s grandfather.”

Shilpa and her parents kept looking for Rajesh, only to learn after a lot of asking around, that her husband and Ramya were shifted to NIMS and then later to Care Hospital at Banjara Hills.

"When my brother-in-law Venkata Ramana (Ramya's father) asked about Rajesh, he got to know that Ramya was at Care and Rajesh had died and had been shifted to Osmania Hospital for post-mortem. Though he did not tell me anything, I somehow sensed it. We rushed to Osmania where they confirmed by 8pm that he had died on the spot," sobs Shilpa.

While Radhika and Ramesh were discharged from the hospital after treatment, Ramya's grandfather is still fighting for his life in the ICU.

"Radhika had tried so hard, for almost two months, to get Ramya admitted into St Ann's school. But Ramya could not attend school for more than a day. The day before the accident was such a happy one, as it was my in-laws’ wedding anniversary. We had all gathered for the occasion, but never thought that it would be the last joyous day in our lives,” says Shilpa, lapsing into silence.

Ramya was to celebrate her 10th birthday on August 8. New clothes for the occasion were bought in advance, but she is no longer around to wear them.

"We want all the six culprits who were in the car that day to be awarded stringent punishment, especially Shravil who was at the wheel that day. We will follow the trial very closely. Such a tragedy should not befall any other family. And the government should implement strict measures to curb drunken driving,” says Shilpa.

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