“Come Out! Come out! Please! If the driver is speeding please come out! If the driver is drinking please come out!”
This was the plea yesterday of a grieving Yashoda Mangal, as she relived the horror of losing her 12-year-old daughter, Maria Bisnauth, in last month’s crash at Nimses Public Road, West Bank Demerara (WCD).
Little Maria surprised her mother by waking up very early, that Saturday of November 30.
She kissed and hugged her mother, and told her “good morning”.
That day was special for Maria. Her mom would be taking her to the Princess International Hotel later that evening to watch “Frozen.”
After the Movie they had also planned to feast on one of Maria’s favourite fast foods, a large pizza.
It would also be the first time “dressing up” in an outfit she was eager to wear, since it was a gift she received from her grandmother on her twelfth birthday.
Maria’s mom left work early that Saturday afternoon filled with excitement to spend the evening with her “princess”.
She invited her fiancée and his children to accompany her on what was expected to be a wonderful experience.
At first, Yashoda was hesitant about taking a minibus whilst standing at the West Bank Demerar Public Road awaiting transportation.
But she soon convinced herself that it was better to board the bus, so that Maria could learn of the experience of travelling with “public transportation.”
Yashoda was keen to locate a perfect seat where she could sit next to her daughter. The conductor directed her to the back seat.
The bus sped off but soon stopped at a shop where the conductor allegedly stepped off to purchase beers for himself and the driver.
The mother said she was startled that the driver was drinking, but comforted herself that “it was probably the first beer.”
The driver continued his journey, allegedly at a fast rate, and Yashoda and Maria began to laugh and discuss their plans for the evening and Christmas.
But then they crashed.
Yashoda was knocked unconscious. She regained consciousness lying on a bed at the West Demerara Hospital.
Although she was in pain she was able to hear the screams of persons from outside of the room.
She tried to lift herself off the bed but couldn’t.
Filled with apprehension, she began to cry out for her child. “Where is ma daughter? Where is ma daughter?”
Her fiancée rushed to her bed side and told her “not to worry… everything is ok”.
But she continued to ask for Maria, and found a little strength to lift her head. What she saw would change her life forever.
The bloodied and mangled body of her daughter lay still on a bed in front of her. She grew numb with grief.
THE 12 BEST YEARS OF HER LIFE
Now, a grief-stricken Yashoda describes her short time with Maria as the best years of her life.
Those memories come with agonizing clarity:
Her separation from Maria’s father when Maria was just a baby.
How heartbroken she was over the separation, but how the sight of her 10-month old daughter, lying in the cradle, had made her smile.
She recalls her mother’s joy that her first grandchild was graduating from the Patentia Nursery School.
Yashoda could not hold back her tears as she remembered taking Maria each day to primary school.
She recounted the many times when she would “put on” an outfit and Maria would say “mommy change it please… I don’t like it.”
Maria dreamed of becoming a pharmacist, and loved spending time with her family and planning for holidays, especially Christmas.
She had written a checklist of their plans for this Christmas and had even assisted her mother in buying “fairy lights” among other things needed for their home. She even planned the dishes they would cook for the holiday.
But nothing is more cherished by the grieving mother than the memory of that Saturday morning when she received that kiss and was told, “Mommy I like my daddy but I love you and I just want you be happy all the time.”
Yashoda said she cannot bring her child back to life but she will advise parents to “please step out of a minibus or car if the driver is drinking or speeding”.