Last morning, around eight O’ clock, when I was returning from Munirka, I noticed some policemen investigating a Maruti Zen car which had rammed into the divider opposite Vasant Kunj Mall on the Nelson Mandela Road. That was barely 2km from Soumya’s home in Vasant Kunj who was found dead in her car.
An hour later, I heard that Soumya had died of a car accident. I went to her home, which is just behind my home, to offer my condolences. There I learnt that it was tyre burst which caused the accident. She was returning aftr three in the morning after a night shift which was to end at midnight but had to stay back because of the bomb blast stories in Malegaon and Modasa.
I could not put two and two together. I failed to realise that the car I saw on the way was Soumya’s car.
Soumya’s body had not arrived when I went to her home since it was thought of as an accident case and had to be sent for post mortem. Her mother was weeping inconsolably. And, her father was at the hospital while post mortem of her body was being carried out. I was told that her cremation would take place at the Lodhi Road crematorium at 2pm.
In the afternoon, when I checked again, I was told that her body was still to be released from AIIMS and that the cremation was postponed to 5pm. It was only in the evening that I came to know of the bullet that had been discovered in her head. I was shocked to learn that it was a case of murder and not an accident. Who would murder such a sweet and friendly girl next door?
I had known Soumya and her elder sister Shuba since their school days. Her mother, Madhavi, was senior to me by one year at the journalism course. Her father, Vishwanathan, who retired from Voltas India Limited, is a good friend. I used to run into him when I used to go to the Mother Dairy to fetch milk.
Shubha completed her MBA and she was employed with ICICI when I last met her at her marriage. She is employed in Vietnam but she was at home in Vasant Kunj on holiday when this mishap happened.
I have never met Soumya after she took up her job. A couple of years ago, Vishwanathan told me that she had joined IBN7 after completing her journalism course. It was only last morning that I learnt about her having switched to Headlines Today.
Soumya was a cheerful girl and she would often call out to my sister from the balcony of her second floor flat to greet her when she used to return from her office. I feel shocked and extremely sad at the untimely death of such a sweet girl and neighbour.
At her funeral, there was a huge gathering of her colleagues from Aaj Tak and Headlines Today who had only nice things to say about her. May her soul rest in peace.