In a major road mishap, at least 13 people, including 11 women, were killed and six others were critically injured when a tempo traveller collided with a truck near Itigatti village in Karnataka's Dharwad district on Friday morning.
Call it fate or a stroke of bad luck, eleven women passengers who met their tragic end and six of them who are still critical are friends from their childhood days and studied in same school - Saint Paul School - a popular convent school in Davangere district.
Premise of this trip was that they all wanted to relive their school days once again. They wanted to visit the same place, Goa, as they had done in their school days.
Apparently the accident took place, just a few minutes away from their scheduled stop at Dharwad, where they were supposed to get down at one of their friend's farm house to have breakfast and refresh and proceed ahead to Goa.
But unfortunately, their leisure trip turned out to be their last trip.
Among the deceased, Preethi Ravikumar is daughter-in-law of former BJP MLA Gurusiddana Gouda while her husband Ravikumar is a well-known doctor in the district and owns a hospital, while another deceased Veena Mattihalli Prakash is a well-known gynaecologist and married to a doctor from the same district whereas Paramjyothi is a relative of former Karnataka CM J. H. Patel.
A family source close to Gouda, on the condition of anonymity, told IANS that perhaps they were about a group of 15 women, who came from very well-off families and settled in various parts of the state, except Preethi, Veena and two more.
"All are of the same age group as they were classmates since class 1 and studied in Saint Paul school, which is still considered to be the best English school in the district. All these women were best friends and they were constantly in touch with each other through their WhatsApp group," the source stated.
The source further added that they used to go on jolly trip regularly and perhaps for the first time they decided to go on a tour but without taking their kids along with them.
"Call it premonition or anything. This time all of them decided to go on their own," the source claimed.
For Preethi, this was the second trip to Goa in gap of less than a week, as she had gone to Goa with her family and stayed there from holiday. "She was not listening to anyone, as she wanted to relive her school life with her best friends and Goa is just meant to achieve that objective was her explanation. It might be the case with others too," the source said.
Even though some of the family members took objections to their travelling plans as they decided to leave Davangere at wee hours of morning that too soon after the festival, excited women were in no mood to listen to anyone saying that one last time allow them to go on a trip with their friends.
They took a selfie just before leaving Davangere and captioned it as - "Go Goa with school Buddies".
This tragic incident has caught the people's attention, with several leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Karnataka Chief Minister, B. S. Yediyurappa, Leader of the opposition, Siddarmaaiha and former Karnataka CM, H.D. Kumarswamy condoling the death of these women and prayed for quick recovery of those survived.