Monday, August 04, 2008

Gautami Express fire: Search on for Google couple

HYDERABAD/WARANGAL: Amidst the charred bogies , heaps of skulls and bones and grieving passengers , M S Ashok continued to search for his friends who travelled with him in the ill-fated S-10 bogie. And till late on Friday night, there was no trace of his friends-Roshni Mukherjee (26) and Hari Shankar (28).

Ashok, Roshni and Hari, who are employees of Google India Private Ltd in Hyderabad, were headed to Kakinada on a weekend trip. "We are extremely fond of bird-watching and we thought we would catch some birds in flight in the backwaters of Kakinada," Ashok told 'TOI.'

Saying that they shared seat numbers 2, 3 and 6 in S-10 coach, Ashok says he doesn't how he escaped from the blazing train. "It was pitch dark when I woke up because of commotion in the bogie as a thick smoke enveloped us by then. I remotely remember being pushed off the train by some passengers. As I looked around for Roshni and Hari, they weren't there," says a weeping Ashok.

He says the enormity of the tragedy was best reflected in the badly-mangled S-10 coach. "I am devastated as I haven't been able to trace them yet. Despite sounding the railway authorities , they are also askance as to what happened to the husband-wife duo, "Ashok said.

The couple's colleagues in Google said that Roshni and Hari have been enthusiasts of wildlife photography for a long time. "Whenever they get time, they used to go off on tours trying to explore new vistas in wildlife. They were also deep into ornithology," a colleague recalled. "They both sport tattoos, which should help the authorities in identifying them. But I am fearing the worst," she said.

Sources said Roshni, belonging to Kolkata, did her MA from English and Foreign Languages University (Eflu) and joined Google two years ago in its online advertisement wing. Hari, a Tamilian, joined the technical department twoand-a-half years ago. "They got married just last year," a friend revealed.

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