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Day After Himachal Tragedy, Mother of Bride-to-be Holds Onto Bag From Her Last Shopping Trip

A day later, Poonam’s inconsolable mother keeps digging in the bag full of wedding items that Poonam was coming home with as if her fingers are yearning to find her daughter in there. She can feel her child’s presence in her life again in that soiled bag.

Anuradha Shukla | CNN-News18

Updated:April 10, 2018, 9:12 PM IST
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Day After Himachal Tragedy, Mother of Bride-to-be Holds Onto Bag From Her Last Shopping Trip
Poonam's parents sit with her photograph and bag at their Himachal residence. (Image: News18)
All that Poonam Pathania’s family is left with is a dusty blue bag. The 21-year-old was the sole outsider in the ill-fated school bus that fell into a 100-feet deep gorge in Nurpur, Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh on Monday, snuffing out the lives of 24 schoolchildren, two teachers, the bus driver and Poonam.

Poonam, who had taken a lift while on her way home, was out to buy wedding fineries for her big day on May 11.

A day later, Poonam’s inconsolable mother keeps digging in the bag full of wedding items that Poonam was coming home with as if her fingers are yearning to find her daughter in there. She can feel her child’s presence in her life again in that soiled bag.

Poonam’s bag still has her bridal clothes with shiny ‘gota’ embroidery on them, some snacks and a small teddy bear... all signs of the dreams Poonam was living for in her last days.

Meanwhile, a stoic silence marks the face of her father as words fail him when he tries to recollect how Poonam had come home a fortnight ago from Chandigarh — where she was working in an IT company — to prepare for her new life. “She wanted to go for higher studies,” he says.

Poonam’s home is a mere three-minute walk from the accident site and her parents now wish only if she would have walked the distance instead of boarding the schoolbus.

The tragedy has also killed two other children in their family, Yuvraj and Shagun.

Meanwhile, residents of village Puhada cremated 13 of their children and buried five others as they were too young to be cremated as per religious beliefs. The death toll is the highest in this village.

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| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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