TT, March 16: A rite of passage that makes every parent proud, tense and wistful at the same time had coincided with one of the happiest days in school for any child: the last day of the annual exams.
So it was for Ayovin Jana, a 15-year-old student of Don Bosco Park Circus, who wanted to spend time with friends before returning home. He took a train unaccompanied by a parent for the first time in his life, from Park Circus station to Behala, where he lived.
The Class IX boy who wanted to be a scientist will never return home.
While trying to board a train that had just started moving, Ayovin appeared to have lost his grip on the iron rod of the door and fell on the platform. In a tragic chain of events, he either got hit by a coach or was sucked into the slipstream of the speeding train and fell on the tracks.
Ayovin was declared dead on arrival when the government railway police in Ballygunge took him to the Calcutta National Medical College and Hospital.
Standing in front of the morgue at the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital, where Ayovin's body had been sent for post-mortem, his father Arunabha, who runs a pest control business, said: "I don't know why I agreed to my son's request that I let him return home alone by train today."
He added: "Every morning I would take my son to school on my motorbike and bring him back in the afternoon the same way."
This morning, Arunabha had dropped his son in front of the school gate as usual. "Ayovin pleaded with me to allow him to stay back at school for some time after the exam and return home with his friends by train. I agreed," the father said.
After the exam ended at 10.30am, Ayovin hung around with his friends for a while before making it to Park Circus station around 11.20am with one of his classmates.
He was supposed to get down at Majerhat station and take an auto-rickshaw, his father said.
When Ayovin and his friend reached the platform, the train had already started moving. His friend managed to board a compartment, an eyewitness said. Ayovin, who was behind his friend, had put a foot on the edge of the compartment door but slipped and fell.
The friend told the railway police that it seemed Ayovin had lost his balance because of the weight of his schoolbag.
Tears rolling down his cheeks, Arunabha recalled what Ayovin, his only child, would often tell him: "I want to become a scientist and work as a researcher with Nasa."