Photo of Ittiyara Antony Poonollil
It was with a sinking feeling that homemaker Annie Geo set out for the Ernakulam Junction railway station on Friday morning after seeing the images of the Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter City Express derailment on TV.
Her brother-in-law, Ittiyara Antony Poonollil, 57, was on the train. He was coming to attend the a memorial service of Annie's mother, Rosy Vadakkel on Saturday, whose funeral Ittiyara had himself attended on January 28.
At the Junction station, she leafed through the reservation charts and prayed fervently that Ittiyara was not on the dreaded D8 bogie. Tragically, not only was Ittiyara in the bogie, but he was one of the deceased. This was confirmed by a Railway official. As her eyes filled with tears, all Annie could think about was that Ittiyara's endless journeys had come to an end.
That's because Ittiyara had been a globetrotter. “He loved travelling,” says Annie. In 30 years, Ittiyara had been to more than a hundred countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle and the Far East, Latin America, China and the USA.
Just a couple of weeks ago, he had been to China and Vietnam. And in February, he was planning to go to Russia. “He had only four countries left to visit,” says Annie. “And he also wanted to go to Kailash Manasarovar.” Unfortunately, those wishes will remain unfulfilled.
The grandson of the late literary critic, M.P. Paul, the Bangalore-based Ittiyara was a bachelor. He grew up in Kuwait and worked in New York for several years in the hospitality industry.
(The New Indian Express, Kerala editions)