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Tearful adieu for Indian expat who died in Dubai a day before his baby was born

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on June 10, 2020 | Last updated on June 10, 2020 at 11.48 pm
Tearful adieu, Indian expat, died, Dubai, day before, baby was born

(Supplied photo)

Nithin was an active social worker involved in blood donation activities even in his hometown.

Family, friends, and nearly a hundred other members of the community on Wednesday bid a tearful final goodbye to Nithin Chandran, the 28-year-old Indian who died in his sleep on June 7 in Dubai. 

Chandran and his then-pregnant wife Athira Geetha Sreedharan recently rose to prominence after the couple filed a repatriation petition with India's highest court amid the Covid-19 lockdown. Athira flew home from Dubai to Kozhikode on May 7, aboard the first flight under the Vande Bharat Mission, India's record repatriation exercise.

Scores of people turned up at Chandran's family home in Perambara, Kozhikode, on Wednesday to pay their final respects. Chandran's body was repatriated from Sharjah to Kochi at 11.30pm on Tuesday on a charter flight. The funeral, as per Hindu customs, were completed by 1.30pm UAE time on Wednesday, according to his close friend Bibin Jacob.

Nithin's wife, baby bid a final goodbye

Following the news of his death, relatives decided it would be best to move Athira to a hospital. "She was not told about his passing away until after her baby's birth as the family was worried it could cause mother and child some harm," said Hashik, a senior legal consultant and social worker who handled Chandran's repatriation formalities.

"She had her suspicions that something was amiss as she'd been trying to call him on June 7. When her blood pressure began to drop, their relatives decided it would be best if she delivers the baby soon," Jacob said. She delivered on June 9 through a cesarean section.

"After landing in Kochi, Nithin's body was taken to MIMS Hospital in Kozhikode so Athira and the baby could see him one last time," said Hashik.

It was gut-wrenching to see the first-time mother and just-widowed Athira being wheeled out of the hospital to see her husband one last time through a glass covering placed over his coffin.

Community champion

"Nithin was an active social worker involved in blood donation activities even in his hometown. It was only natural that so many people would turn up to pay their last respects. Not just his family, but the entire community is devastated," said Jacob.

"He desired nothing more than to see his newborn child. He could have returned to Kerala with her on May 7, but decided to give up his seat keeping in mind that there are thousand others who desperately desire to return." He added: "They kept in touch through the phone, through video calls. They were so excited about their baby."

Nithin was an active member of the Incas Youth Group, where he was the coordinator of Blood Donors Kerala, a blood donation unit. Several family members and members of the Incas group also gathered at the Sonapur Embalming Centre at 3:00pm on Wednesday.

"He was waiting for flights to return to normal. He was OK with missing out on her delivery because he realised that his decision to sacrifice one seat on the flight would make a huge difference to someone else's life. That is how kind-hearted he was," said Hyder Kodanad Thattathazhath, president of Incas Youth Wing.

"He was distributing food kits to families affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Once his wife left for India, he actively committed himself to social work, especially for blood donation drives," said Thattathazhath.

According to his death notification issued by the Ministry of Health Preventive Medicine Department, 28-year-old Chandran had suffered a congestive heart failure. The direct cause of death was stated as cardiac arrest, and the leading cause of death was listed as heart failure. 


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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