Travelling to the United States to attend the funeral of their eldest son GV Loganathan will be the most difficult journey Vasudevan, 79, and his wife Kannamal, 70, have ever undertaken. Loganathan — GV to his friends, Logu to his family — was a professor at Virginia Tech University and one of the 32 gunned down on campus by a troubled South Korean student on Monday.
In Karunthadipalayam village near Gobichettipalayam, 80 kilometers from Coimbatore, Loganathan’s family is still reeling from the news of his death. “Logu’s wife Usha called us this morning to convey the news and ever since, both my parents have gone into a shell,” said younger brother GV Senguttuvelan on Tuesday.
Vasudevan, a retired state government official, had initially wanted the funeral in their hometown but then chose to travel to Virginia instead, since his son had been an American citizen for almost three decades and the legal hassles of transporting his body to India were too many.
None of the family members have passports and will be given emergency passports. “The local police have been helpful with these formalities,” said Senguttuvelan. Vasudevan and Kannamal will first travel to Mumbai, where they will be joined by Usha’s father. They will then leave for the US on Wednesday night or Thursday.
Loganathan — an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur — last visited his village in 2004 and had been planning another trip this year.
“He was a good teacher, among the most popular on campus. He taught hydraulics,” said Dr R Sivanandam, who taught in the same civil engineering department from 1991 to 1997 and is now a civil engineering professor in IIT-Madras. “GV used to be a very helpful colleague and was particularly sought after by Indian students for his advice,” he added. Sivanandam said the civil engineering department at Virgninia Tech was located in Patton Hall but occasionally, due to tight scheduling, classes were held in Norris Hall; this was where GV was shot dead.
“It is unimaginable that the rash act of one person can shatter so many lives and destroy the peace of what has always been a tranquil place. Virginia Tech is one of the safest places in the US. We would even leave our homes and cars unlocked and nothing would happen,” Sivanandam observed.
At Loganathan’s alma mater, a condolence meeting was held and rich tributes paid to him.
With inputs from HTC, Kanpur