A pall of gloom surrounded the houses of two engineering students — Shyju K.C. and Sarathchandran — from Ernakulam district who were killed in an accident at Rajakkad in Idukki on Monday. They were among the seven students from the Sarabhai Institute of Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, who lost their lives when their tour bus fell into a gorge. The bus driver was the eighth victim.

Shyju K.C., 22, of Kalamassery, son of Kuttalath Chandran, an autorickshaw driver, and Jiji, an anganwadi worker, was an eighth semester student of Electronics and Instrumentation. He had three elder sisters: Sheeja, Shini and Sheena. Shyju’s family was unaware of the news as his parents and sisters were away at work. It was their neighbours, relatives and friends who broke the news to the family. Somebody had disconnected the cable TV line to the house.

At Ambalamedu, Sathidevi, mother of Sarathchandran, was all alone. His father, Chandrasekharan Nair, who died five years ago, was a civil contractor. He has two sisters, Meera Venugopal, who is in London, and Neeraja Chandran, in Chennai. The mother, after hearing the news of the accident, alerted her relatives living nearby. The news of her son’s death was conveyed to her later in the evening. The bodies of the two students were brought to the district late Monday.

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