21 Feb. 10pm.
As the Head of Business Events at Pravah’09, our annual techno-management fest, I had just finished with BQmen and was outside the auditorium bidding farewell to the quizmaster and the sponsors, the Career Launcher team. There was an announcement at the jukebox. There was an accident and the jukebox was over for the night.
Restless, I rushed to the jukebox. I got to know that the accident was a minor one. A bike had brushed a girl from BIT Mesra, Ranchi. Relieved, I returned to the hostel along with six 2nd year students. One can’t get food in any junior hostel mess after 9:30.
And IT happened in the meantime.
10:45pm. I got to know that Rishabh and Sahoo(I had a hard time recalling his first name. FYI its Bishwajeet) had “fallen” into the fountain in front of the Academic Section, 10 metres behind the Jukebox. All I came to know that Rishabh was a bit serious and Sahoo was allright. They had been taken to the Tata Main Hospital(TMH).
I had to go to the junior hostels for the promotion of Bizzytimes, the mock CAT event scheduled at 08:30am the next day. I took some juniors with me and walk towards the Ups. (Ups : Hostels meant for 1st and 2nd year; Downs : 3rd, 4th year and M.Tech, MCA. The fountain is situated midway.) As we crossed the fountain, we met around 20 policemen who enquired about us and let us go. As we approached the Ups, we saw some juniors rushing towards the scene of accident. I stopped them in a firm voice and made them stay in the hostels. A million questions were in the air : “Boss, kya hua”, “Abhi kaise hain wo log, Sir” et al. The promotion of Bizzytimes was coupled with strict instructions of not leaving the hostels and an assurance that everything was all right. It wasn’t.
As I return to my hostel, I saw hordes of senior year students in small groups talking in murmurs. In a while, I got some horrible news. Rishabh was no more!
And I get to know what happened.
People had boozed big time. Rishabh was not in his senses. He took off his shirt when the group went for a “photo-session” at the fountain and jumped into it. Normally, we click snaps at the fountain on a regular basis with our hands in water and all. But this day was different.
Rishabh jumped into the water and there was a short circuit. Panic spread all across the group, full on alcohol as well. Some did the logical thing of rushing to the watchmen for getting the current switched off. The others could not let their friend meeting his fate. Three of them tried to save him by doing whatever they could and endangered their lives in the process as well. The watchmen had come till then. They used their long sticks to save Abhishek and Nikhil from doing anything stupid. The right side of Abhishek’s body had been severly burnt till then. But for Sahoo, it was too late. He had been sucked into the current. The current was switched off after a minute. Rishabh was floating on the water while Sahoo was still alive. People took them to the TMH at the earliest.
Around midnight. Hordes still outside the hostel-E. I got the news. Sahoo had passed away as well !!