A group of girls and boys huddled in the corner of the house, disbelieving and sorrowful. They composed themselves, picked a candle each and lit it in front of Subhasri’s photo. Ajay, one of her closest friends, sighed,
"“I have nothing to say because I can’t believe she is no more. This shouldn’t have happened.”"
23-year-old Subhasri was driving her scooter down Pallikarnai in Chennai when an illegal hoarding fell on her. She was subsequently thrown on the road, where a water tanker ran over her. The accident took place on Thursday, 12 September, at 2:30 pm.
Little did her parents – Ravi and Geetha – know that they had bid goodbye to their only child in the morning.
Subhasri studied Mechatronics at SRM University, passing out in 2018. She aspired to go to Australia for higher studies. She was a young entrepreneur as well, and ran her own skincare venture called ‘Cherbs Herbs’.
The Quint caught up with a few of her friends, all of whom talked about how cheerful and goal-driven Subhari had been.
‘She Wanted to Be Many Things’
Happy; chirpy; goal-oriented; focused; helpful; loveable. That’s what all of Subhasri’s friends said about her.
Vishnu, who studied with her at SRM University, said he owes his degree to Subhasri.
" “She was always very helpful. I know her very well because usually during the final semester exams, we used to call her at night and ask for important questions. And somehow she will always be right and that’s why we have degrees, to be honest.”" - Vishnu, Classmate & Friend
Siddhanathan remembered Subhasri as his first friend in college. “We used to talk a lot. Very lovable, talked to everybody. In SRM, we have students from different cultures and languages, and she will talk with an open heart to everybody. Very passionate about pursuing her studies... always wanted to score high and she had a dream which has now been shattered.”
Ajay was one of her closest friends and said that looking back, all he remembers are the ‘jolly times’ they shared. “We were best friends from the first year. She helped us out a lot in academics... We always talk in a very jolly way, but I can’t say a thing now because I am not able to believe this (sic).”
Vishnu said that one of the biggest blows regarding the incident is, “When we visited her parents yesterday, they said the only thing she wanted was to take care of her parents as she was an only child. But today...” he trailed off.
‘Full of Positivity’
Subhasri was loved for her radiant, positive personality. Hari recalled how she helped him believe in himself.
“Once when placements were going on, she was there with me in the group discussion and I was so negative about it that I was going to leave. She stopped me and said, ‘You have got a chance and so don’t leave it... You just might get selected. I didn’t leave that day, and later I got called for a job at that firm,” he said.
A friend of hers at the gym said the memories he has of her are “All about her charm and activeness... her humming an English album and her fast workouts (sic). She is a foodie and always smiling... very social with people around her (sic).”
"“I didn’t want to be a part of her funeral because I have very beautiful memories of spending time with her and I really don’t want to see her like that.”" - A Friend of Subhasri’s
Grooving to Ed Sheeran
Aishwarya Shankar Iyer and Subhasri had been classmates and train-buddies for years. They would talk, tease each other, make fun of others, and when things got serious, Subhasri was always there to help her be confident.
The two would bond over ‘Game Of Thrones’, ‘Arrow’ and groove to Ed Sheeran's music.
Yamini and Subhasri became friends on the day of the orientation at college and since then, have travelled to college together as well as sat all night, talking about life. She fondly remembers Subhasri as the girl who would always be trolling others.
"“If she were here, she would be trolling us right now... that’s how lovable she is.”" - Yamini, Subhasri’s Friend
“The last time I met her was in April and we stayed awake all night and talked about random things and life goals. And today, seeing all her dreams shattered... this should not have happened. This is not fair,” she added.
"“She wanted to be many things... not just one career option. She liked cooking and sometimes said she wanted to open a restaurant. She was really good at Zumba dancing.”" - Yamini, Subhasri’s Friend
‘Our Collective Responsibility’
Subhasri’s friends appealed to everyone in Tamil Nadu to stand up against the culture of hoardings so Subhasri’s death is not in vain.
"“Her loss is a lesson to the society. You celebrate your happiness. Do it around the place where you’re gonna celebrate. And do not block roads or put banners or flags to indicate your celebration, which has ended in a loss for a family.”" - A Friend of Subhasri’s
“When a baby is born, or someone is going abroad for studies, or for a favourite politician or movie actor... for everything people want banners. This is not necessary. Banners are just for showing off and we feel this is not something we need to be proud of. It is a public nuisance and it is high time people take into consideration the consequences of their actions,” said Vishnu.
He also added that he noticed people taking down hoardings in different areas of the city and hopes the same is not temporary.
“This should not happen only because of this incident. People should not play along for a month or two and then go back to the old ways,” he asserted.
Yamini believes that in the age of social media, publicity needs to switch from flamboyant physical banners to e-boards.
“Many think this is the only way to publicise, so as youngsters we can create awareness that this is not to be done,” she said.
Hari said, “I want you to really think before putting banners if they are really necessary. It is just show-off and has to be stopped. A lot of traffic congestions and such accidents happen but there are no regulations in place, no one is monitoring this and more than the authorities, the people who make banners need to think if they are necessary. It is not about blaming anyone but it is a collective responsibility.”
. Read more on India by The Quint.RSS & BJP’s Nehru-Netaji ‘Cosplay’: Irony Dies a Thousand Deaths‘Cheerful, Positive, Goal-Oriented’: Subhasri’s Friends Reminisce . Read more on India by The Quint.