The otherwise vibrant park opposite Mohanan’s house in New Police Line colony wore a deserted look on Sunday evening. The many children of H-block were asleep at 5.30 pm — tired, after staying up with the adults till 2 am the night before. News of their Radhakrishnan uncle’s death — who was attacked by a wild elephant in Wayanad, Kerala, on August 14 — had poured in at 10:30 pm on Saturday.
Radhakrishnan, the 52-year-old Assistant Sub-Inspector with the Delhi Police was in Kerala to get his younger daughter admitted to a medical college, and on his way back to Wayanad, an elephant attacked him, causing serious injuries to both his legs.
“The road he had taken is risky, there are too many wild animals. He got out of the car because the headlight stopped working…that’s when an elephant attacked him. He tried getting in the car again, but the elephant started hitting the car with his trunk. In order to protect his daughter, brother in-law and driver, he didn’t get in… it was only when a truck honked that the elephant ran away,” said Mohanan, his colleague, and friend of 30 years.
While Radhakrishnan’s left leg was amputated soon after the incident, he died on Saturday night due to “multiple organ failure and septicemia”. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
At 11 am on Sunday, a memorial meeting was held for Radhakrishnan in the colony, which was attended by 250 people — friends, colleagues and children. In the evening, his friends gathered at New Police Line Colony, Kingsway Camp, to remember him, his love for theatre and his attachment to children in the area. They scrolled through their phone to see photos of Radhakrishan on stage – dressed in a mundu, with a wide, mischievous grin on his face in one, and reading a paper seated on a bench in another.
“He was very active in theatre, and would write skits – political, comedy, sometimes serious – and act in them too. Under Radha’s guidance, we would all act too, so would our children, participate in various festivals, including Safdar Hashmi Drama Festival by theatre group Jana Sanskriti,” said his junior colleague and friend Abdul Mutleef, 42, adding, “He made Delhi feel like home for many of us from Kerala.”
It was only a few months ago that Radhakrishnan acted and wrote a play on the occasion of his batch’s 30th anniversary, staged in Delhi.
“The play was on the life of policemen, how it’s mentally tough and so consuming… and then the policeman retires, and gets a WhatsApp from Yamlok. The policeman complains about not having any time to enjoy life, and that’s when Yamdoot grants him 15 years…Radha played the protagonist,” remembered his batchmate Mohanan.
At 6 pm, 11-year-olds Neha, Anagha and Atul restlessly walked in and out of Mohanan’s house, having just woken up to remember that “Radhakrishnan uncle” is no more.
“During the summer holidays, he would take us out for picnics to Akshardham temple, and some museums too. He taught us acting and Malayalam also. I never saw him angry, he was always laughing,” said Neha, adding how “he was so big and powerful on stage”.
Assistant Sub-Inspector Dinesh Kumar added, “He would teach children through games, it was so peculiar…they loved him. The kids will miss him the most.”
On the afternoon of July 22 Mohanan, Dinesh and Abdul had last seen Radhakrishnan, as he got ready to leave for Kerala. “He was so happy that his younger daughter got through a medical college…he fed us sweets too. We all went to say bye to him…who knew we would never see him again?” said Mutleef.