CHENNAI: With their son and daughter living abroad, Chennai couple Sujatha (56) and Prem Kumar (63) spent their time visiting either of them occasionally and traveling to spiritual destinations to spend their retirement life. Apart from the couple from Anna Nagar, a relative Kala, of Mylapore too was killed in the helicopter crash near Kedarnath on Tuesday.
“It was their first visit to Char-Dham,” said Ram Kumar, elder brother of Prem Kumar.
“Sujatha was very spiritual and she was keen on visiting holy sites. That is why we are sad. This should not have happened,” Ram Kumar told DT Next.
Prem Kumar retired as a senior executive in a private company and used to visit Odisha and other states for work. For more than two decades, the couple resided at Santham colony in Anna Nagar West, the kind of quiet neighbourhood where residents keep to themselves, and the only connection is through social media with life updates learnt through WhatsApp status.
“They recently went to visit their son, Prashanth in Singapore and came back. Sujatha had shared the pictures on Whatsapp. I did not know that they were in Uttarakhand. When I came outside in the evening, saw a couple of their family members standing outside the house and later learnt of what had transpired,” said a long-time neighbour of the victims.
A tailor who runs a shop next door recalls stitching clothes for Prem Kumar before the trip and expressed shock at the turn of events.
Prem Kumar’s family members who stay in different parts of the city reached Anna Nagar by evening to check on the aged parents of Sujatha, who stay in the ground floor of the house while Sujatha and Prem Kumar stayed in the first floor.
“Their son is reaching Chennai from Singapore and he will be traveling to Uttarakhand,” a family member said. The daughter, Kavya who lives in USA too has been informed and is expected to reach the city soon.
The distraught family members said that the Tamil Nadu government has been supportive ever since the news broke and have made all arrangements to bring the mortal remains of the deceased. The bodies are expected to reach Chennai on Wednesday.