Madurai man rejects plush job offer, ends life as a saviour in Uttarakhand
K Praveen, a Flight Lieutenant in the Indian Air Force (IAF) who died in Uttarakhand during a rescue sortie by an IAF helicopter on Tuesday, was raised by his mother C Manjula and grand parents, after his father left his mother when he was just three-months-old.
Praveen studied his bachelors (BE in Mechatronics) at Thiagarajar College of Engineering and received placement in Tata Consultancy Services upon completion of the course. As he had written his UPSC (Combined Defence Service) exam earlier, once he got selected he opted for a career in the forces, said his uncle V Krishnan.
“The offer gave him the chance to join all the three forces, but he opted for the air force. We wanted him to proceed according to his wish. As he had a passion towards manual driving, he chose helicopters over fighter planes,” he added.
As an enthusiastic student, Praveen excelled in all subjects. He achieved Company Under Officer post in the National Cadet Crops (NCC). He bagged the college’s ‘Best Outgoing Student Award’ in 2007. He had also visited some college functions as a guest of honour.
“We are proud of him as he died serving the nation,” said his NCC training officer and professor, R Muruganantham.
Even Praveen’s pet dog, Nikki, which was apparently close to him, did not consume food for more than six days. “We could not identify why. The veterinary doctor said its health was normal and prescribed only general medicine. It refused to take its favourite food. It always used to bark staring at the sky. It may have been due to its realisation of its owner’s death,” said Krishnan.
Talking about their senior colleague, other pilots said he was supremely knowledgeable in his work, sincere and helpful. Even after he moved to join Barrackpore helicopter base from Bangalore, he would guide them voluntarily over phone.
Praveen had visited his house a month ago to meet his grandfather. His grandfather had then expressed his wish to see his grandson’s marriage before his death. Praveen had asked his family to look for a bride.