As routine on March 4, Jaswinder Singh put his sons, Jaskaran (6) and Sukhman (5), on the school bus of Akal Academy and waved at the boys until the bus was out of sight.
Half an hour later, news reached the village that the bus had hit a truck on the national highway-71. Jaswinder Singh and his wife, Jaswinder Kaur, got to the spot and found their wards covered in blood. "We took them to the nearest hospital but it was too late," said Jaswinder Singh, breaking down.
"Tiffins, water bottles, school bags and bloodstained shoes were scattered at the accident scene and people were busy moving injured to the Nakodar Civil Hospitals," recalled Jaswinder, and the couple remained still for at least half an hour.
Both children were Jaswinder's sons but his NRI brother, Narinder Singh, had adopted Sukhman after the death of his only son at birth. He did not have a child later in 11 years of marriage with the sister of Jaswinder Kaur.
Narinder had come from the UK to take Sukhman with him. The passport was applied for. Both boys were the favourites of only the family but also the entire village. The tragedy shook the twin villages of Mudda and Talwandi Bhron. After that day, Jaswinder Singh avoided looking at the Akal Academy bus.
Major Singh lost his son, Gurjot Singh (9), in the incident. Gurjot was his only son after two daughters. "We got Gurjot after nine years of prayers. My eldest daughter is 21. Gurjot's arrival completed our family. Police let off the bus driver who passed on his duty to an untrained deputy. It was he who was responsible," said the aggrieved father.