Man travels 3,345 km to bury friend in home town

Man travels 3,345 km to help friend rest in peace at his home town

Raphael AVL Malchchanhima, Vivian's friend, with ambulance drivers S Chinnathambi and P Jayendran . (DH photo)

Vivian Remsanga, a 28-year-old hotel management graduate, is finally buried in his home town, Aizwal, Mizoram after a four-day arduous journey covering 3,345 kilometres from Chennai in an ambulance.

“Hope my friend will rest in peace now that he is buried in the place where he was born and grew up. This is the least I could do for my friend in his death,” 23-year-old Raphael Malchhanhima tells DH from a quarantine Centre in Mizoram’s capital Aizwal.

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Raphael accompanied the mortal remains of his friend Vivian in the ambulance which was driven alternatively by two drivers from Chennai – S Chinnathambi and P Jayendran travelling through half-a-dozen states over four days for the deceased’s parents to see him for one last time.

The journey which began on the night of April 24 ended at around 4.30 pm on April 28. Vivian was buried on Tuesday and the two drivers began their return journey within two hours – they were given Rs 2,000 each by Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga as a token of appreciation.

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“We did not face any major problems during the journey as we had necessary documents to pass through several states. We drove through day and night and the longest period of rest was two hours near Siliguri in West Bengal. We were two and we alternated between us to cover the distance. When I used to sleep, Jayendran would drive and when he was resting, I took the wheels from him,” Chinnathambi told DH.

Chinnathambi spoke as Jayendran was at the wheels and the duo are on their return journey to Chennai from Aizwal. “Guwahati is 150 kms away from the place where we are now. We hope to reach Chennai in the next three days,” he said on Wednesday evening.

Vivian passed away in Chennai, which was his home for a few years now, on April 23. Since flights were not operating, his friends decided to bury him in this metropolis, but Raphael would not agree.

“He is my best friend and anyone who dies would want to be rested in his own place. We began looking for alternative options and that is when we zeroed in on an ambulance service which arranged two beautiful human beings to take my friend’s mortal remains,” Raphael said.

The ambulance was arranged by the Chennai Mizo Welfare Association. “When we decided to send the body via ambulance, Raphael volunteered to accompany his friend’s mortal remains. Now Vivian is resting at a grave in Aizwal. We want to thank the Tamil Nadu government for all its help,” IAS officer R Lalvena, also president of the Chennai Mizo Welfare Association, said.

Chinnathambi said they managed with whatever food they got – some state government had arranged food for them since they knew the ambulance would pass by. “When we transport a body, we think the person who died is from our family. We think of their family members who would be waiting to take the last look. By god’s grace, Vivian’s body reached home,” he added.