Grief hung heavy in the air when Sree Bhadra (9), Archa (7) and Abhinav (4) were laid to rest. The children were buried in between two funeral pyres – their father Praveen Kumar to one side, and their mother Saranya to the other. The bodies of the family of five, who are believed to have died of asphyxiation due to carbon monoxide leak from a room heater at a resort in Nepal, were brought to Chenkottukonam near Sreekaryam of Thiruvananthapuram on Friday. And the ones saying goodbye could not believe the fate that met the family.
By 7 am on Friday, the grounds around Praveen’s ancestral home had two pyres and a pit in between, ready for the cremation of Praveen and Saranya and burial of their kids. “Let them sleep safely in between their achan and amma,” the relatives say, as hundreds of people gathered around the house to pay their respects to the deceased.
By 8 am, the mortal remains of the family were brought home. Praveen’s parents, Krishnan Nair and Prasanna Kumari, couldn't bear to see their grandchildren in coffins. They went inside the house, shattered, and couldn't come out until the bodies were taken to the cremation ground.
Saranya's father K Sasidhara Kurup was seated near the cremation area, without crying, without moving. He was living with his daughter Saranya and her children in Ernakulam. Saranya's sister Aiswarya sat a little distance away, crying.
"Saranya's mother died sometime after her first child was born. Her father helped her a lot and was in the position of her mother. We cannot imagine how he can bear all this,” a relative says.
“Praveen's smile and his good character will just remain in our minds. He was a person who rushed to any of our needs,” Shayamala, a relative of Praveen says.
Shathamma, another relative, recalls how efficient Saranya was in keeping the families together. "She was a person who believed in sticking together with the family. She used to spend vacations here with her children. How can we forget those happy faces of the kids who once played in this courtyard?" she asks.