“It was on this fateful Monday evening last week that we lost the only breadwinner and hope of our family,” cried Somashekar, father of Akhila S, who was electrocuted on one of Bengaluru’s flooded roads.
It has been a week since the death, and while several BBMP officials and political leaders — including BJP MLA Arvind Limbavali and Leader of the Opposition Congress Siddaramaiah — visited the family and promised help, no one has actually provided any financial aid to the family.
A kind-hearted Vishal Baliga, Somashekar’s employer in whose house he has been working as a gardener for the last 40 years, has started a fundraising campaign on Milaap to help the family.
Only silence at home now
Somashekar told South First that there was only silence at home now.
Akhila, a BCom graduate, was very talkative, and always very close to her parents and younger brother Manjunath, who is differently abled, with both his legs affected.
Remembering how their day began with the tea she made for all of them and the frequent reminders to her 55-year-old father, 48-year-old mother, and 16-year-old brother to constantly “be careful”, Somashekar grieved: “My son is handicapped in both his legs. We recently took a loan of ₹2.5 lakhs and got an operation done for him at HOSMAT hospital. It was through her salary that we were paying off his college fee.”
He added about his son: “He is a bright child and my daughter would help him in his studies, too. Now there’s nothing but silence at home.”
Mother also injured
This family seems to have been through a lot.
While Manjunath was born handicapped, his wife Padma’s leg fractured when a huge tree next to his house fell on it, not only damaging the roof but causing a severe fracture in Padma’s leg.
She had to be operated upon and now cannot do any major work.
Aravind Limbavali visited the house and promised compensation for the family, which apparently never came.
Somashekar said: “I have no hope from any of the politicians. Even last time Limbavali sir came and told us that he would get us compensation and also pay for the surgery, but nothing of that sort happened.
He added: “We know we will never get my daughter back, but that financial help might at least benefit my son’s studies and fulfil my daughter’s dream of educating him.”
Good samaritan Vishal
“I remember holding Somu’s hand and going to school every day. He’s been with us for the last 40 years. We have not seen him as a gardener or a worker. I still remember the day he proudly carried Akhila to our house, to announce that he had another baby girl,” recalled Vishal, the businessman who started the Milaap campaign for the family.
Somashekar can’t thank Vishal and his family enough.
He said, “That family has been helping us throughout. They funded my two daughters’ complete education from kindergarten till their degree. After my daughter started to earn, we told them we would fund our son’s education.”
Vishal told South First: “It is a very very unfortunate incident. It’s a huge loss for us. We are only trying our best to help the family. I don’t want them to stop educating their son. He’s a bright child. Also, I am indebted to them. I am thankful to Milaap and those who are helping the family by contributing.”
The campaign, which was started on 10 September, has so far been able to raise ₹4,26,449.
On 5 September, Akhila left the music school — where she was working —around 8 pm and was heading home on her two-wheeler when she felt she was losing her balance on a waterlogged road near Mayura Bakery.
She decided to turn her bike off and started pushing it home.
A car created a wave in the stagnant water, which hit both Akhila and her scooter, causing her to fall towards the divider on the road.
There was an advertisement flex board on the divider, which had wires hanging loose at the bottom of the iron structure.
Apparently, Akhila came in contact with the live wires and got electrocuted. The incident is said to have taken place around 9 pm.
When passers-by found her in an unconscious state, they managed to inform her family, who hurried to the spot.
They tried to rush Akhila to a nearby hospital, but the traffic jam prevented them, Somashekar would later tell the police.
When they did manage to get to the hospital, the doctors declared Akhila dead on arrival. It was then that Somashekar lodged a complaint with the police.