His roll number at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, was 80076CE. He graduated in civil engineering in 1985.
Karthik Rajaram, who shot dead his wife, three children and his mother in law before killing himself in Los Angeles on Monday, is remembered by those who knew him as ‘tall and lean’ and an excellent student. All are stunned and mystified.
“He was a curly-haired guy, quite outgoing,” recalled Suresh Govindarajan, former student and presently professor at IIT’s physics department, who was
two years Rajaram’s junior. “That entire civil engineering batch of students were great guys, you couldn’t call one of them boring. What drove him to such
“I remember him as one who was quite reserved in class,” said R. Vasan, one of Rajaram’s batch mates. “I met him last year in the US and he seemed fine.”
“It is shattering, very tragic, ” said G.K Suraishkumar, professor in the Biotechnology Department, who had lived in the same hostel as Rajaram when the latter was a student.
“Indians go abroad to work hard and prosper,” said T.T. Narendran, Dean, Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research IC & SR) Centre at IIT Madras. “What has happened is terrible.”
The man who could have thrown some light on Rajaram’s action, however, refused to meet anyone. Chennai based, 76 year old Ramaseshan, a retired general manager of UCO Bank and Rajaram’s father in law, who lost his wife Indira, his only daughter Subashri, and three grandchildren, was in complete shock.
“He is in unspeakable trauma, he doesn’t want to speak to anyone,” said one of his close friends — who too was unwilling to be named — when HT tried to reach Ramaseshan. The friend, a market analyst, confided that the father in law was unlikely to even attend the family’s mass funeral in Los Angeles.
“I believe some arrangements are being made in the US for the last rites,” the friend said.
Another acquaintance of Ramaseshan’s revealed that Rajaram’s father too had worked for UCO Bank. Their families met often, following which Rajaram and Subashri fell in love and married.
In the normal course, Karthik was scheduled to visit the IIT campus in 2010 for the silver jubilee re-union of IIT Alumni who graduated in 1985. That will never be. The tragedy has truly dampened Durga Puja spirits on the campus.