Kerala RTC bus accident: Class 10 student wrote exam not knowing her father is no more

Bavitha wrote her class 10 model exam on Thursday, not knowing that her father, VR Baiju, was one among the 19 dead in the Kerala RTC bus accident.
Kerala RTC bus accident: Class 10 student wrote exam not knowing her father is no more
Kerala RTC bus accident: Class 10 student wrote exam not knowing her father is no more
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Bavitha Baiju, a class 10 student of St Paul’s Higher Secondary School in the small village of Veliyanad on the outskirts of Ernakulam district, went for her model exam on Thursday morning. What she did not know was that around the same time, a group of people were pulling out the mortal remains of her father from the wreckage of a Kerala RTC bus. 

Bavitha’s father, 47-year-old VR Baiju, was the conductor of the Kerala Road Transport Corporation’s (Kerala RTC) Bengaluru-Ernakulam bus that met with a deadly accident on Thursday, which left 19 people – including himself – dead.

“Some of her family members knew that Baiju passed away by the time she left for school. But they did not inform Bavitha as she had her class 10 examination on Thursday. Even as the entire state talked about the accident, she did not know till 5 pm. After her class got over in the evening, she was taken to her friend’s house, and from there, to her relative’s home. That is when they told her. She was devastated. She had thought as per usual, by this time, Baiju would be home after work,” Jessy Peter, Edakkattuvayal gram panchayat president and Baiju’s friend, tells TNM.

Bavitha was the only child of Baiju and his wife Kavitha, who worked as a nurse in a small eye hospital in the region. “Bavitha was their beloved as she was an only child. Though they were not very well off financially, it was a happy family,” Jessy Peter adds.

Both Kavitha and Baiju are natives of Veliyanad village and had been living there.

According to Jessy, Baiju was loved by all. “He was very active in social work, and interacted with everyone here. He was also a unique person, he used to always come up to me with suggestions related to developmental affairs of the panchayat. Usually people approach us to tell their needs, but Baiju always came to talk point out the bad condition of the roads in panchayat and where all new roads should be laid etc. Even if a street light went off in the panchayat, Baiju would be the first person to point it out,” says Jessy, after coming back from his friend’s funeral. Baiju cremated on the family premises on Friday morning. 

Jessy also remembers how Baiju took initiative to coordinate relief activities during the 2018 and 2019 Kerala floods. “There is a group of Baiju’s friends here, they all studied in class 10 together. In every program in the panchayat, they were on the forefront. During the floods also, they were coordinating distribution of relief materials to affected places, and Baiju was leading them. He used to transport the materials to the Kerala RTC depot after collecting them from the panchayat here,” Jessy says.

The bus on which Baiju was working collided with a container truck carrying tiles at Avinashi in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruppur district around 3.15 am on Thursday. 19 among the 50 people who were on the bus died on the spot, while many others were injured.

Baiju and Gireesh - the driver of the bus who was also killed in the accident - are also remembered for helping save a woman passenger’s life back in 2018. Dr Kavitha, a passenger who boarded the Bengaluru-Ernakulam bus operated by the duo, had epilepsy, and fainted on the way. Baiju and Gireesh took her to hospital without hesitation. One of them even stayed there along with Dr Kavitha, waiting for her relatives to come. Tomin J Thachankary, former Managing Director of Kerala RTC, had in a circular that year, appreciated both Baiju and Gireesh for their actions.


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