Watery grave snuffs out b'day candle

Boat tragedy


Before leaving for the backwaters cruise at Thekkady in Kerala’s Idukki district, Rajashekaran, 37, had mentioned in passing to one of his neighbours here in Koramangala his plans and how he expected Senthil Kumari, in her mid-30s, to enjoy Kerala’s environs, something they had pined for while in the United States. But long before four-and-a-half-year-old daughter Aishwarya could sing ‘Happy birthday to you’ to her mom, tragedy struck the other 71 tourists who were on the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) boat they had hired for the cruise. The bodies of two other tourists from Bangalore, identified as that of Suryaprakash and Vijayalakshmi from Gavipuram in Hanumathnagar, are expected to be flown in late tonight by an IAF plane.

For the Ramaswamys there was no home-coming. All three met a watery grave. While Rajashekaran’s body was fished out, those of Aishwarya and Senthil Kumari, whose birthday was to be celebrated on Thursday, are missing. They are presumed to have been washed away.

Aishwarya’s promise to her friends, Shruti and Anushka, who live in Raheja Residency in Koramangala, will also remain unfulfilled.

“After I come back from my trip, we will play four corners,” were Aishwarya’s parting words to the two. Word reached Shruti last night that “Aishwarya and her parents went on a boat which went into the water and now they are drowned”.

Residents and neighbours of the Ramasawamy family were in a state of shock on Thursday. A neighbour, Raj Patil, said Rajashekaran and his family were always very helpful. “When I had just moved into the apartment and my mother was not well Senthil Kumari helped our family in the hospital by taking care of my mother,” he said.

Another neighbour Venkat recalled that when he moved into the Residency, Rajashekaran had helped him in giving details of bus routes and directions to different locations in Bangalore. The couple also liked to maintain a healthy lifestyle. “Both were very health conscious and would work out in the gym very often,” he said.

According to neighbours, the family had moved from the US to Bangalore two years ago. While Rajashekaran worked as a technical manager at First Advantage in ITPL, his wife Senthil Kumari was employed at Yahoo! India as a quality engineer.

Rajashekaran’s colleagues at First Advantage were in grief when they heard about the tragic end of their boss.

“Nobody is in a position to talk. He was loved and respected by all,” said HR personnel Surabhi.

Meanwhile, employess of Yahoo! India did not wish to speak as Senthil Kumari’s death is yet to be confirmed. The authorities are yet to find the bodies of Senthil Kumari and Aishwarya.

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