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‘After all the hard work and sacrifices, it had to end like this’

Friends, teachers at IIT-Delhi recall the four who lost their lives during a trip to Rajasthan

Written by Shikha Sharma | New Delhi |
April 2, 2014 12:55:32 am
(Left) Mayank Goel; (Right)Archana Kumari  and Deeksha Gautam. All three died in the accident. 	Express (Left) Mayank Goel; (Right) Archana Kumari and Deeksha Gautam. All three died in the accident. Express

He was an avid traveller, one who loved to hit the road frequently. But last Friday morning, Mayank Goel wasn’t planning on going anywhere. A last-minute cancellation by a friend, however, saw Mayank headed to Rajasthan — a trip that was to be his last.

Four days later, his friends are still left with a sense of disbelief. “It feels like he’s away on one of his trips and will be back any day,” Mayank’s friend Manish said.

A tyre of the Innova in which he and his five friends — all from IIT-Delhi — were travelling burst and the vehicle overturned, killing Mayank and three of his friends.

While Pallav Aggarwal and Deeksha Gautam from the Computer Science department, and Archana Kumari from the Chemical Engineering department, died on the spot, Mayank, who was studying biotechnology, succumbed to injuries at a hospital.

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“Mayank was the one whose notes we studied from. He had been placed at Axtria in Gurgaon. After all the hard work and sacrifices, it’s hard to believe that it had to end like this,” Manish said.

Archana got a job at Reliance, but was planning to prepare for civil services, after working for a couple of years. “Archana was hardworking and soft-spoken. She was always in the top 10 in her course, and captain of IIT-Delhi’s girl’s volleyball team,” one of her teachers said.

In her honour, the institute has decided to start a scholarship — the Archana Kumari Scholarship for needy students, from next year.

A similar sense of loss haunts the friends of Deeksha, Archana’s roommate at IIT’s Kailash hostel. Deeksha had landed a job with Goldman Sachs at an annual salary of Rs 30 lakh. A topper since her school days, Deeksha cleared the GATE and was an assistant teacher at IIT-Delhi until last year. “She was made for engineering. This was not how it should have ended,” one of her friends said.

Pallav Aggarwal was to go to the USA to work with Rocket Fuel after his course. “Palalv was bright, but he had no airs about him. He was my teaching assistant. A day before he went to Rajasthan, we went out for dinner. Two days later, Pallav is no more,” Abhishek, Pallav’s junior, said.

“We were working on a project together, and today was our big presentation. When his name was called out, he wasn’t there. It was very unsettling,” another friend of Pallav’s said.

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