"Papa, you go ahead. I will come, let the crowd thin out," these were the last words of Mumbai stampede victim Shraddha Varpe to her father before she died.
Though, the 25-year-old's father managed to cross the footbridge connecting the Parel and Elphinstone Road railway stations when the deadly stampede began, Shraddha on Friday lost her life in the tragedy that killed 22 people and injured over 30.
He searched for her frantically, only to find that she was among its victims, said a tearful Bhimrao Dhulap, Varpe's close relative who accompanied him to the mortuary of KEM Hospital in the afternoon.
Both Shraddha and her father worked at the Labour Welfare Board on the Elphinstone road. They would travel to the office together from their house in distant Vitthalwadi in neighbouring Thane district.
They alighted at the Parel station around 10.15 am on Friday and headed for the footbridge which was as usual overcrowded.
Suddenly it started raining, and the crowd on the bridge swelled. Kishore was propelled forward by pressing bodies, while Shraddha was stuck behind, Dhulap said. Kishore called out to her, and she asked him to go ahead, saying she will wait for the crowd to disperse.
After getting out on other side, Kishore called her on mobile phone, but there was no response. "It was all over in ten minutes, just ten minutes," he said, sobbing uncontrollably.
-With inputs from PTI