Hours before two men battered him to death in a drunken fury, 42-year-old Rajesh Bharadwaj, an auto rickshaw driver for more than two decades, was looking to supplement his meagre daily earnings by working a little longer.
Sangeeta, who was away with the couple's two pre-teenaged daughters and son at a relative's house in adjacent Karnal, had merely laughed it off.
"You always sleep too much. When will you get up? Your food will get cold. Why isn't he listening to me? Please, someone, anyone - please ask him to wake up," Sangeeta, now his widow, wailed while clutching her children at a cremation ground in Mangolpuri on Friday afternoon.
Bharadwaj was battered to death by bricks after he failed to avoid a collision with an Innova, which came to a sudden halt in front of his auto rickshaw near a petrol pump in northwest Delhi's Vijay Vihar on Friday morning.
The couple's three children, aged between 10 and 12, were fixated on the white sheet-clad body of their father as other family members readied it for cremation.
"The eyewitness, who informed the police about the accident, told us that Rajesh was begging the men who beat him to let him go for the sake of his children but they didn't listen. They threw him in a drain instead," said a family member.
Scared at their own deed after Rajesh stopped resisting the blows directed at his face, Vinod and Rahul, the accused duo, had scrambled to escape. They left behind their car and in it a visiting card that helped the police track them down in less then 12 hours.
"It was Vinod's employer's visiting card. Rahul was caught from near Rithala Metro Station while Vinod was traced to and arrested from a near one of his relatives' homes in Bahadurgarh," said an officer. Vinod has three children of his own.