Pensive: Vijendran speaking about his wife who was on board the ill-fated flight.
KUALA LUMPUR: The days following the MH17 tragedy were tough for the close-knit family of ophthalmologist Datuk Dr Vijendran Markandu.
His wife Datin Priya Vijendran, 69, was among those on board the doomed flight.
However, many of her friends were initially unaware that she was one of the victims because the passenger manifest had her listed as Datin Kausalya Jairamdas.
She had travelled using her maiden name and Priya was the name she had taken up after her marriage in 1967.
Dr Vijendran, 72, said only her close friends were aware about it. They had come to visit the family in Bukit Damansara but many others are still in the dark.
Priya was a doting grandmother who was returning home after spending nearly a month with her two grandchildren – seven-year-old Chiara and nine-year-old Leo, the children of their second son Sanjay – in Lieden, Amsterdam, he said.
“She loved the grandchildren very much,” he said in an interview in which he was accompanied by his three sons Rajiv, Sanjay and Prem.
Dr Vijendran said the family was unable to have closure as they did not have Priya’s remains yet.
“We will continue to carry out prayers,” he said, adding that a prayer session would be held at 5pm on Monday at the Lakshmi Narayan temple in Kg Kasipillay, Jalan Ipoh.
Dr Vijendran said he last saw his wife when he sent her to Kuala Lumpur Sentral for her to board the train to the airport on June 23.
“I was shocked when I saw the news on TV. I knew she was on that flight as we had exchanged text messages,” he said.
Dr Vijendran said his wife had been a very active person, citing how she would help with a mobile library by sourcing for periodicals and magazines from newsstands and also taking them to be given to patients at the National Heart Institute.
“She was also active in the Kuala Lumpur Speakers Club, of which she was a past president. The women would share a lot of things, some of which they won’t even share with their husbands,” he said.
Sanjay, who flew back from the Netherlands earlier this week, said: “I have been away for more than five years. She came and watched the World Cup games with my friends.
“She also taught my children how to make chappati, samosa, and poori and even taught them some yoga.”