A young Indian student, who went missing in Sydney last week, was "not happy" and wanted to spend time in the mountains rather than study engineering, a friend of his has said.
20-year old Abhijit Swami, who had arrived in Australia some months back from Rajasthan and was pursuing a diploma in electrical engineering, left his home on a bicycle last Friday but did not return.
"He changed in the last three weeks," Ryan Hidalgo, a friend of the Mount Druitt TAFE student was quoted by Sydney Morning Herald as saying on Wednesday.
"He said he didn't know what he likes in life and he asked me about that. He was asking me about where to do some (outdoor) climbing in Sydney," he said.
According to the paper Hidalgo said Swami did not look happy. He occasionally visited Summit Indoor Climbing Centre in Blacktown.
"He said he can take care of himself and said 'I just want to test my physical ability'. He said, 'I'm a strong man, so don't worry about me. I can eat just one banana a day," Hidalgo said.
Swami left his uncle's Seven Hills home on Friday about 10.15 am, wearing jeans, a shirt and trainers, and has not been seen since. When he failed to return as expected, his family reported him missing.
Police found his pushbike at Blacktown train station and saw glimpses of him in CCTV footage from Central train station on Friday.
Swami came to Sydney to study as his uncle, Surender Gora, lived in the city.
Gora said the young student's parents in India, Rakesh and Pramila Swami, were very worried about their son and were calling him every two to three hours.
When he left home, Swami was not carrying a mobile phone and had just $ 50 cash in his pocket and about $ 75 in his bank account.
He arrived in Sydney from his hometown of Anupgarh, in Sri Ganganagar in Rajasthan four months ago to study at TAFE.
"He's studying a two-year diploma of electrical engineering and planned to go to University of Western Sydney after that to get a degree as well," Gora said.
He added: "I came here in 2000 and I brought my brother here. It's a very good country and very safe. That's why I decided with (his family) to send him here with us and he will have a better life".
Gora said his nephew was a shy and soft-spoken man, who did not have many friends or a girlfriend in Sydney. He also worked as a paperboy on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.