'He lost mother early, we called him Cerelac baby'

'He lost mother early, we called him Cerelac baby'

As a child, Lieutenant Colonel E K Niranjan was lively and sportive, his uncle Muralidharan recalled.

The family lived in Rameshnagar, Bengaluru East, before moving to BEL area, off Jalahalli. Muralidharan, who lived close by, has fond memories of him as a child. Niranjan’s mother Rajeshwari died when he was just a child. “We would call him Lactogen and Cerelac baby,” he said. “He grew up to be an enthusiastic and playful child.”

But he would get naughty at times, Muralidharan recalled. “We would have to constantly look out for him. We would tell him that we would have to put a tag on him with his name and address or he would go missing,” he added.

Muralidharan said he spent a good amount of time with Niranjan until he turned five. “I once got him dress like a villain and posed with him. I still have that black and white picture in my home. I took the picture when I bought a camera for Rs 100,” he said. The last time he met Niranjan, he teased him too, saying he would post the photograph on Facebook.

The uncle shared some small memories, too. “When headphones were out in the market, Niranjan came home eyeing them. He put them on and took the guitar in his hand. He pretended to be a rock star. Only when we took back the headphones did we realise that it was carnatic classical music playing.”

Niranjan, who was killed during combing operations at the Pathankot Air Force station on Sunday, did his schooling at the BP Indian Public School in Malleswaram and PUC at BEL College in Jalahalli. Incidentally, BEL grounds where Niranjan once played cricket as a student became the place where his body was kept for people to pay their last respects.

Dr Arun Kumar, his childhood friend, said, “Both of us did our PU at BEL College. Niranjan was a very warm person. We would play cricket at the same ground.” 

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