Karnataka Bank staff mourn colleague killed in air crash

“Vaishnavi”, a house in Bejai, where Narayana Rao (50), a senior clerk at the Bejai branch of the Karnataka Bank Ltd., his wife Vani (40), an ayurvedic doctor, and their only daughter Vaishnavi (12) lived, will no longer see them return in flesh and blood.

All the three had been burnt alive by the Saturday's air crash in Mangalore.

Mr. Rao's father-in-law, Gopalakrishna Rao, along with other relatives, appeared to be slowly coming to terms with the tragedy. He told The Hindu that his son-in-law was returning from his first foreign visit.

Mr. Gopalakrishna Rao's sister-in-law, Manjula, said: “They toured many places in West Asia and had purchased several gifts for friends in Mangalore.” “Although diabetic, Mr. Narayana Rao used to eat and enjoy sweets,” she recalled.

Ms. Manjula also said that after touring several places and tasting different cuisine, Mr. Rao frequently used to say “I have enjoyed everything in life.”

Lovable banker

Condolence messages have been pouring in for Mr. Rao at his bank, where he was popular among the non-resident Indians (NRIs). “We have received 10 to 15 condolence messages from abroad and customers have been calling up over phone from abroad to convey their condolences,” said Raghavendra Acharya, a colleague of Mr. Rao.

Mr. Acharya said that Mr. Rao was working in that branch for more than 20 years.

“He was a committed worker and worked from 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. and sometimes beyond that. He was liked by one and all,”he said. “His absence is hard to imagine,” Mr. Acharya said.

“Every customer used to first chat with Mr. Rao before getting on with his/her work with the bank,” said K.V. Seetharam, Senior Manager at the head office of the bank here. Incidentally, on the day of the crash, rescue workers in an ambulance realised that they were carrying the body of Mr. Rao only after a cellphone in the trouser pocket started ringing. It was his relative Ranganath, who had called up.Mr. Ranganath told The Hindu that the police had returned Mr. Rao's mobile phone to him.

Mr. Gopalakrishna Rao said that his daughter's body was found in A.J. Hospital and Ms. Vaishnavi's body at Yenepoya Hospital at Deralakatte, late on Saturday night. Mr. Narayana Rao's body was found at the Government Wenlock Hospital here.