CHENNAI: Quiet, down-to-earth and soft-spoken are some of the words neighbours instantly associate with Subhash Suresh, one of the three crew members of the ill-fated Dornier.
More than a month since he went missing, the mood is still tense at his residence in Thillai Ganga Nagar in Nanganallur. Curious as they are, the people are more than merely interested in knowing what happened to the Deputy Commander of the aircraft, who used to drive in his blue Volkswagen car.
The man at the pawn shop has been a tenant at the house of Subhash’s uncle for years, the lady at the store used to wave at him every morning and the elderly woman at the nearby flour-mill has seen him since he was a little boy playing cricket in the alley, right through his class 12 days in Prince Matriculation.
“We’re following the news minute by minute,” they say.
Upon hearing that a wrist-watch found by the Coast Guard among the debris did not belong to him, a ray of hope that it shouldn’t be the other crew members’ either (DS Vidhyasagar and MK Soni) made itself apparent.
Buddharam, who runs a nearby shop, recounts how Subash never once wore the haughtiness of a well placed officer. “He would not even let anyone else clean his car,” he says.
The 30-year-old has a one-year-old son and was due to complete his last leg of service in Chennai by 2017. A picture of Subash begins to take shape as his neighbours and well-wishers share anecdotes and instances. From his perfectly spoken Punjabi Hindi to his daily running routine, they only have nice things to say. “His father was so proud after hearing his Republic Day speech,” recounted Lalitha a neighbour, recalling Subash,in his Coast Guard ensemble, speaking to students of school at Porur. “We appreciate the efforts undertaken to find Subash and the others. We are awaiting the results of the DNA test,” said B Venkatesh his cousin, speaking for the grieving family. The DNA results will be known within the week, there is still hope lingering in the neighbourhood.