They now hope to make his dreams come true

Braving tears, friends of M. Abhimanyu, the slain student leader, began thinking aloud about his dreams — a medical facility at his native village Vattavada and a clean and green college campus. Abhimanyu held the dreams close to his heart and had often shared them with his teachers and friends. In his absence, the students have taken it upon themselves the responsibility to translate those dreams into reality.

It was a tough call for the faculty members of the Chemistry Department on Thursday, the day on which the department resumed functioning after the murder of one of its popular students. One after the other, his classmates started trickling in to the second-year classroom where they had spent a year together. Around 25 students turned up on the day. The trauma was writ large on their faces. The tragedy had struck them hard and deep. The classroom was devoid of its usual cacophony. Everyone remained cloaked in silence and appeared withdrawn. Occasionally, they exchanged glances. Some tried to hide their tears.

It required much persuasion and pacification for the students to come out of the gloom, said Meera Gopal, Assistant Professor at the department. Later, similar scenes played out at the meeting of the National Service Scheme, where Abhimanyu had served as the volunteer secretary.

Emotions ran high at the meeting as his fellow volunteers recollected memories of the programmes they had organised and the days they spent together. The students will soon meet persons such as Simon Britto, a former legislator, who was close to Abhimanyu, to evolve plans for a suitable memorial for him, said C.S. Juile Chandra, an NSS programme coordinator at the college.

He had suggested converting the college campus into a plastic-free zone at the beginning of the current academic year. He also dreamt of a clean campus, she said. As offers for providing his parents a home and financial assistance have come up from different quarters, the NSS and its volunteers wish to tread a different path, which would further his dreams into reality, she said.

On the day, teachers also spoke to parents as a measure of reassurance. Parents also came up with a slew of suggestions for ensuring the safety of their wards on the campus. They also offered to chip in with contributions to support the family of Abhimanyu.

The heads of various departments of the college will hand over the funds they raised from among themselves as a support fund for the affected family. Support will also be extended to the student, who is convalescing at a city hospital. He suffered serious injuries during the attack.

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