K Praveen had called up his mother Tuesday morning. The 27-year-old IAF pilot promised her he would speak to her again in the evening after completing the days rescue work in Uttarakhand. That was the last time Manjula spoke to her son. The next call informed her about the helicopter crash during the rescue operations later that day,in which her son,one of the two flight lieutenants,was killed.
He spoke to me at 9.45 am yesterday and told me he will be calling me again in the evening. But we only received the call conveying the shocking news about the helicopter crash at Gaurikund, she said. Related: Day before death,ITBP man told dad ‘we’re fighting bad weather’
Praveen was her only son. Her husband left them when Praveen was just months old. Manjula brought him up well: he was the head boy of the school,best outgoing student in college,company under officer in NCC and good at studies. He completed his engineering and worked with TCS for a while before joining the Indian Air Force. Related: They saved many lives,but lost their own
He was always active. Becoming a pilot was his ambition, Manjula said. After selection,he was first placed in Bangalore before being moved to the Barrackpore Air Force Station. Related: His mother wanted NDRF man home for bday on July 1
Praveen had visited his home in Madurai a month ago,and had consented to his familys wish to get married. But then came the call from the commanding officer.