NAT T.N. Krishnakumar-1595932476378
T.N. Krishnakumar with his son Rohit who died in a car crash last Christmas Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: An Indian expat, who lost his son in a Dubai accident, has flown home 61 compatriots stranded in the UAE by sponsoring tickets on repatriation flights arranged by a college alumni group from Kerala.

Tragedy had struck the family of T.N. Krishnakumar when his 19-year-old son Rohit and neighbour Sharat, 21, died in a car crash while returning home after a vacation reunion of school friends who were pursuing higher education in the UK and the US respectively.

See more

The car crash in The Gardens community, where both the families live within a kilometre, happened while Sharat, who had come down from the US that day, was dropping Rohit home after meeting a few other Dubai-based friends in the wee hours of Christmas last year.

While Sharat’s mortal remains were repatriated on the same flight he had booked to fly home with his mother and grandmother for a pilgrimage in Kerala, Krishnakumar and family took another flight to fly home the mortal remains of Rohit.

NAT T.N. Krishnakumar 2-1595932478531
T.N. Krishnakumar with AKCAF Volunteers' Group members Image Credit: Supplied

After returning from Kerala following the completion of his son’s last rites, Krishnakumar has ramped up his social service activities which he had been doing for long.

While his wife is yet to recover from the shock and irreparable loss, he said he had been trying to overcome the grief by engaging more in social work.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Krishnakumar offered his support to the All Kerala College Alumni Federation (AKCAF) Volunteer Group, of which he is a member.

The volunteers’ group of former students of over 150 colleges from the south Indian state has been actively involved in providing food kits and medical supplies to the needy and also for arranging repatriation flights during the pandemic.

Paul T. Joseph, a senior member of the group, told Gulf News that Krishnakumar sponsored tickets of 61 Indians in distress who wanted to fly home during the pandemic.

“He had sponsored the ticket of one person each on the first six charter flights we facilitated. He also paid the ticket fare of 55 out of 191 passengers on the latest flight we chartered on Friday for flying home distressed people for free. The rest of the tickets were sponsored by members of various college alumni groups,” said Paul told Gulf News.

He said Krishnakumar had donated around Dh57,000 in total for 61 repatriation tickets.

Helping those with suffering

Krishnakumar said he was only trying to offer some relief to people “who are suffering” and had suggested the idea of chartering a completely free charter flight for the stranded compatriots.

“Sometimes we seek answers as to why this tragedy happened to us. Then we think about others suffering more than us. I can only find some peace by helping others,” said Krishnakumar, who is a sales and marketing director with a private group.

Involved in various charity activities, including sponsorship of education of disadvantaged children back home, Krishnakumar said he had raised both his sons by instilling values that he holds strongly.

Rohit, who was a third year medical student at the University of Manchester in the UK, was a bright student and a winner of Shaikh Hamdan Award for Excellence in education while he was schooling in Dubai.

“He was also interested in supporting the needy. He had stayed for 10 days in a tribal colony in a rural area in Kerala to help doctors treating tribal people.”

Krishnakumar said both his sons also used to celebrate their special days with orphan children while back home.

His elder son Rahul, who is set to join his master’s in public health in the University of York in the UK, is now the driving force in the bereaved father’s life and mission.