UAE: Expat Couple Starts A New Initiative In Honour Of Their Son Who Died In A Car Accident

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Thu 13 Jun 2024, 8:42 PM

Indian expat couple Anand Kumar and Raji established a Student Achievement Award with the Highest GPA at Boston University in memory of their son Sharat Kumar Nambiar who died in a car accident in 2019.

The Boston University Pardee School of Global Studies in the US held its convocation on May 18 this year, presenting a bittersweet moment for Anand Kumar and his wife Raji, here in Dubai. The inaugural prize in memory of their son, Sharat Kumar Nambiar, was awarded to two students.“It was given to a graduate and an undergraduate student with the highest GPA,” Raji explains, the slight quiver in her voice betraying the calm demeanour she had assumed.


“We are planning to continue this every year in his honour,” says Anand.“This act of giving back gives us a sense of purpose and is a way to keep Sharat's legacy alive.”

Sharat lost his life tragically in a car crash in Dubai on December 25, 2019, while spending Christmas holidays with his family. Their only child, Sharat was an international relations major at the Pardee School of Global Studies, also pursuing a minor in business at the Questrom School of Business. He had come down for winter vacation right before what would have been his final semester of undergraduate studies.

A gifted child

Born and raised in Dubai, Sharat was a student of Choueifat School until grade 7, before attending the prestigious Doon School in Dehradun. He excelled academically, achieving top marks in the ICSE exams and earning his IB Diploma.

A natural leader, Sharat led a 2015 fundraising campaign at The Doon School for a staff member's son with Juvenile Diabetes, showcasing his empathy and organisational skills. He also mentored younger students through the Panchayat Ghar.

Sharat had a keen interest in politics and aimed to join the Indian Foreign Service and be a diplomat. He gained an opportunity to do an internship with Dr Shashi Tharoor, a prominent member of Indian Parliament. During this internship, he attended the Monsoon Session of the Indian Parliament, witnessed live debates, and drafted letters to senior officials, including the Prime Minister.“Dr Tharoor praised his political acumen. He said his work on a research paper examining voting patterns in Kerala's bye-elections showcased his analytical skills and deep understanding of political dynamics,” says Anand.

An avid adventurer, he trekked across the Himalayas and participated in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

His volunteer work included supporting hospitals and serving food to the underprivileged with the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation. Sharat also contributed to environmental and social causes through the Uttarkashi relief service and Waste Warriors and attained the Silver Standard of the International Award for Young People.

He got selected from the Doon School to attend various MUNs (Model United Nations), including China and the Harvard MUN in Boston, USA. He also represented India at the International Students' Science Conference (ISSC) held at Hobart, Australia. The topic of study for the presentation was 'An evaluation of the avian baseline population in the Lesser Himalayas'.

After schooling, he got admission in 12 different universities, finally opting for Boston University. It was a four-year course, which the young achiever completed in 3.5 years.

The ill-fated day

Sharat arrived in Dubai on December 24, where his mother and maternal grandmother eagerly awaited him. Anand was on a business trip in India, and the family planned to travel to Sabarimala (a spiritual place) in Kerala two days later, with Anand joining them there.

That night, Sharat went to a friend's place and later to a nearby food joint for a late-night snack. Known as the safest driver among his friends, Sharat held both a UAE and an international licence. At 3am on Christmas morning, after dropping off one friend, Sharat was driving his friend and neighbour Rohit to his apartment. He lost control of the car, which crashed into a tree. Sharat was 21 and Rohit was 19; both died instantly.

It is believed Sharat may have been jet-lagged and tired, having just returned to Dubai that day.“He and Rohit, along with the other boys, had been friends since childhood,” says Raji.“When he didn't come home, we assumed he had stayed over at a friend's house. Rohit's parents thought the same. We were notified by the police in the morning, and both my mother and I were in shock.”

Anand rushed back to Dubai immediately and had to handle the police formalities.“We took him back to Kerala on the same flight we were supposed to take to Sabarimala,” he says.

A legacy of inspiration

Four years later, Anand and Raji now aim to keep Sharat's memory alive by focusing on the things that he loved to do. In recognition of his academic excellence, this year, they established the Students Achievement Award at The Doon School and the Pardee School. This award, which includes a trophy and cash prize, is given to outstanding students selected solely by the management of these institutions.

“Since he was a brilliant student having achieved the 128 points needed for his course in just 3.5 years, he was a favourite among the faculty,” explains Anand.“So when I requested for this award to be given in his honour, they honoured it in special consideration. We are planning to give this award every year.”

Additionally, to keep his memories alive, tennis tournaments are sponsored at the Trivandrum Tennis Club, including the national tournament for boys and girls.“We later learned from his friends that Sharat was a talented dancer and choreographer. We are exploring ways to honour all his passions,” says Anand.

The couple also supports students in need and helped a person build their dream home, all in Sharat's memory.

“You can never really come to terms with the loss you have endured,” says Anand.“You can just continue existing. But both of us feel that by helping other people in our moderate possible means, we can celebrate his life, which was filled with extraordinary passion and purpose.”



Khaleej Times

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