HAVING LOST his father when he was just eight years old, Harish Nanjappa was deeply affected through his growing years by his mother’s constant struggle to make ends meet for her two sons, slaving at home and in local agricultural fields. Determined to provide his mother a better life in their village, Karegowdanahalli in Tumkur district near Bengaluru, Harish had left for the state capital a year ago after getting a job logistics firm.
He moved in with an uncle at his house in north Bengaluru, visiting Karegowdanahalli, about 60 km away, to meet his mother once a fortnight to save money.
But the 26-year-old’s dream died on the morning of February 16 on National Highway-4 when he was returning to Bengaluru after a visit home on his new motorbike. He was crushed by a speeding truck.
Harish’s final gestures, as he lay writhing on road, with his lower body separated from his torso, will remain in the minds of many for a long time to come.
The sight of the young man speaking clearly and calling for help, even as his upper body lay dismembered from the lower half, scared people away from helping him. Minutes before he died, Harish Nanjappa’s first request was for some water, the second was that his organs should be harvested to help another human being.
He lay there for more than 15 minutes before an ambulance attached to the company maintaining the toll road arrived to take him to hospital. In his dying request, Harish told the ambulance driver and paramedical staff to ensure that his organs are donated. “He was in pain. I knew I had to keep driving,” said Manjunath, the ambulance driver.
“When we reached the hospital he was still conscious – even then he insisted that his organs be donated,” the driver added.
Doctors managed to harvest Harish’s eyes for donation but not other organs. His body was too badly damaged in the accident.
For his mother, Geethamma, and uncle Chandrappa, with whom Harish lived in Bengaluru, the struggle now is to put away thoughts that the young man could have been alive had he not gone home last weekend.
“We had all gone to Harish’s village on Saturday to vote in the local elections and were scheduled to return soon after casting our votes. But his mother requested Harish to stay back and help her complete harvesting ragi,” Chandrappa said on Thursday. “He told her that he had to get back briefly to Bengaluru but promised to return on his bike. He returned to the village on Sunday.
He helped his mother complete her work and was returning to Bengaluru on Tuesday morning when the fateful accident occurred.”
“His ultimate goal was to take care of his mother since his elder brother is not bothered about her,” Chandrappa alleged. The elder brother, Sridhar, lives in Bengaluru and works as an autorickshaw driver.
Despite having to constantly help his mother on the farm, Harish managed to clear Class X from a government school in the village. He subsequently joined a technical training institute and earned a diploma as an industrial fitter. But unable to find work, he had returned home to join his mother in agricultural work, the uncle said.
“A year ago he was convinced that he needed to shift to Bengaluru to give himself and his mother a better life. He joined a private firm and bought a bike with bank loan three months ago,” Chandrappa said. “His mother warned him on many occasions to be careful while riding. In fact, he had even put up a sticker on the rear bumper — “mom said no race” — as a reminder.”
In the end, it was the speeding truck that killed a dream.