Published: 09th May 2018
Chennai teen, a victim of stone pelting in Kashmir, was a sports lover
What was even more tragic about the entire episode was that Thirumani, who would have celebrated his 25th birthday next month, did not even want to go for a vacation to Kashmir in the first place
The narrow road leading up to R Thirumani's house in Karimedu Anna Nagar in Palavedu, Tiruvallur district, painted a grim picture on Tuesday evening. A pall of gloom had engulfed the place, with messages of condolence on banners adorning the street. The Chennai youth, who had gone on a vacation to Jammu & Kashmir, had lost his life to a stone pelting incident on Monday and myriad friends and relatives were milling about, near his house.
The expressions on their faces spoke volumes of the tragic nature of the incident.
After 40 families had formulated a plan to go on a vacation, they had left for India's northernmost State last weekend. Forty-eight hours later, it had turned tragic. Little did Rajavelu (Thirumani's father), who works at the Ordnance Depot, know that he would lose one of his own. That too during holidays. Thirumani's family was one among the 40 families which had gone on the trip.
What was even more tragic about the entire episode was that Thirumani, who would have celebrated his 25th birthday next month, did not even want to go in the first place. He was initially 'reluctant to travel,' Ravi, his elder brother, said. The first stone hit the car and the second hit Thirumani, who had his ears plugged, during the mayhem. Even though his sister, Sangeetha, pleaded with him to duck, he had little time to react and fell victim to the volley of stones that rained against the vehicles that the families, who were travelling on the Srinagar-Gulmarg highway, were in.
Thirumani was seated on the right side with his mother and Sangeetha on the left when a stone struck his face, Ravi said, recalling his telephone conversation with his sister. Ravi, one of the members of the family who had stayed back, shared these details with this newspaper even as tears streamed down his eyes. He was waiting to receive the mortal remains.
Ravi, interestingly, came to know about his brother's death from the hospital. "My sister immediately called me to tell that Thirumani was hospitalised. After that I could not reach my family and so I called the hospital in the evening and the authorities informed me that he had succumbed to his injuries," Ravi added. The parents, who had travelled with the mortal remains, were inconsolable. Family and friends, who had gathered there, too were shocked at the tragedy.
Rajavelu said the governments of Jammu and Kashmir and Tamil Nadu helped them to expedite the process of getting the mortal remains back to the city. He also refrained from speaking to the media.
Thirumani's friends said that he was a quiet guy. "He never spoke much but was passionate about sports. He would always keep to himself," Madan, a childhood friend of the B Com graduate from Hindu College, said.
"It is a huge shock. I had last spoken to him the day he left. We were expecting him to return on May 12 (Saturday) and yesterday (Monday) we saw the news on social networking sites... I immediately called Ravi to check," Arun, another friend, said. “He was always interested in sports and recently he had participated in a marathon which was held for charity."
Minister for Tamil Culture and Archaeology, Mafoi Pandiarajan, and the Tiruvallur district collector visited the family after the mortal remains reached.