| Puri’s relatives at his Delhi home. (PTI)
New Delhi, Dec. 28: It was 7.30 in the evening and Raksha Puri’s mind had wandered to the vacation in Goa she planned to enjoy with her husband when the call from Bangalore came.
Minutes later, as the former Hindi teacher collapsed in a state of shock, sobbing and hardly able to speak, relatives rushed to her Mount Kailash home and formed a protective wall around her.
S.K. Arora, a cousin, told reporters the family of IIT Delhi professor Mukesh Chander Puri had learnt about his death in a gunman’s attack on the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, from one of his former students.
“It was Lalitha, she had accompanied him to the Bangalore conference,” said Arora, principal of Hansraj College, Delhi.
Today was the second day of the three-day seminar on operations research, and wife Raksha had told Puri over the phone in the morning that he must fly back to Delhi. She was planning a quick trip to Goa.
The 64-year-old professor ' who had retired from IIT Delhi’s faculty about five years ago but continued to teach as emeritus fellow ' had won many awards for his work.
Among the injured were two of his former students, Dr Pankaj Gupta and Dr Sonia, both from Delhi.
Also injured was IISc professor and senior computer scientist Vijay Chandru, CEO of Strand Genomics, a bioinformatics company and the first technology firm in India to have emerged from an academic institution five years ago.
IISc officials said Chandru, an MIT alumnus, was recovering in hospital after emergency surgery.
IIT Delhi heard the news on TV just as it was sitting down to dinner.
“Now they have entered academic institutions. Where will this end'” said Dr D.P. Kothari, deputy director (administration).
Some professors said they would now think twice before attending conferences.