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|2nd November 2005, 00:35||#32|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Mar 2005
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We have lost a friend and a gentleman
A small but important correction to Rudra's post: Vinod (Philipkuttys) was not on his way to the Team BHP meet, but was to play host to the meet. The meet (or what was left of it - with the festive season Artofzen and I were the only two participants) was to take place in his farm (Philipkuttys Farm> www.philipkuttysfarm.com, named after his father) which is an island on Kerala's famed backwaters near Alleppy. Though not an active member in terms of posts, Vinod was a keen follower of the goings on in the forum. He had even called me to find out what happened to the Tata Sumo issue (Bangalore Vaahan Yatra case) at the forum.
Vinod (Philipkuttys) had called me early this morning to tell me that he will be driving to Trichur to select the terracotta tiles for the three new villas coming up on his Island, and that he would get back only by around 1.30 pm. He was trying to ensure that he is there to receive us when we reach his place...Nash and I drove down to reach his farm by 2 pm, and on reaching there a boatman came across the backwaters and called me to the side. He then told me that Vinod had expired....needless to say I was shocked, because I'd spoken to the same person a few hours ago.
He told me Vinod had frequent problems with acidity and gas, upon which I guessed it was a heart attack since the palpitations are often mistaken for gastric trouble. Nash got on the phone to find the number of the hospital and soon enough we were talking to St. James hospital in Chalakkudy (a small town between Trichur and Cochin). We were informed that Vinod felt uncomfortable on the way back and dropped in to see his cousin who stays enroute and is also a doc. The doc tried to rush him to the hospital in Chalakkudy, but he was dead on arrival.
I met Vinod at the Dicor launch in Cochin,where he was accompanied by his friend K Suresh (also a TBHP member and the owner/creator of the Indica Coupe which was featured on this forum sometime back). He came across as a person who was very passionate about vehicles, and we did a through inch-perfect inspection of the Dicor at the venue where he pointed out various flaws and the various new features that Tata have incorporated. I was instantly impressed by this soft-spoken and very erudite gentleman, and told him about TBHP. We kept in touch over the next few days and soon enough we had the first TBHP meet in Cochin and he drove down all the way from Alleppy just to make up the numbers.
As it turned out, Vinod was an honours graduate of the JNU and an active alumni of a prestigious school in Yercaud. He was passionate about automobiles, but his passion had a very seasoned sobriety to it. He and I seemed to have similar views about all things automotive, and he was interested in vehicles in a very practical sort of manner, preferring to ignore statistics such as 0-100 times and other such theoretical measures in favour of a more complete view of the vehicle as a whole.
He inherited the farm when his dad passed away prematurely, and ditched his high-paying multinational job in Bombay in order to look after his family property. Being the very industrious and innovative person that he is, he quickly realised that farming alone wasnt going to be a sustainable activity in the long run and decided to look for other alternatives. Soon he built a small villa in a corner of his island that he planned to rent out to people looking for a different sort of holiday experience where the host is a family and not a faceless hotel company.
He made history at the Kerala Travel Mart 4 years back by booking space to market his one-room property in the midst of huge hotels and resorts with thousands of rooms each. The novelty of his proposition caught the fancy of some reporters and he got excellent coverage on national newspapers and the local satellite channels for his bravado. With this, Philipkuttys Farm came to be known as a location with a difference. It was a place with no television, no telephones, no room service and no bearers. Everything on the resort was handled by Vinod and his family, right from the airport pickup. This phenomenally personalised service caught the fancy of several tourists and soon his resort was packed to capacity during the tourist season.
He then expanded from a one-villa destination to a three-villa destination, taking care to ensure that each of the guests had enough space and privacy to themselves. With Phlipkuttys Farm becoming a must-stay destination through word-of-mouth publicity from guests who stayed there just once, Vinod's business had really taken off.
As mentioned earlier, he was in the process of completing three more villas when the Lord decided he was too good for this world. He had spoken to me yesterday and said that he was putting together his first real post for TBHP - a 10,000 kms report on his Innova, a car he felt was getting less than its due just because it didnt look cool enough. He was also planning to put up his 150,000 kms owners report on his trusty Indica.
Now that the initial shock of the news has settled, I am able to understand better the actual extent of the loss. This one man's exploits was sustaining most of an entire village in Kerala thanks to the additional jobs created by his enterprise. He was a gentleman to the core, one of the very few I have come across in my life so far. He has always been prompt with his replies to emails and telephonic requests and even followed up with me every other day to check out the number of people likely to make it for the TBHP meet. He was very disappointed that there were just two of us, but was quite happy that we were willing to put the show on the road despite the lack of numbers.
Its not often that God's creations come so close to greatness, and Vinod was a great person in his own unique way. Perhaps that is why God calls such creations back faster than the likes of us - so that he can use them as templates to make more of their kind...and make this world a better place in future.
Vinod leaves behind the enduring legacy of his creation - Phlipkuttys Farm, a large circle of friends right from school days who know him as 'Coco' (a nick that stuck after a coconut fell on his head as a kid on his dads farm), an even larger circle of friends and admirers from the travel and tourism industry, a circle of automotive friends including TBHPians, the entire village of Vettiyur in Kerala, his mother, his wife, 2 kids aged 6 and 1 1/2, a Toyota Innova and two Tata Indicas.
May his soul revv in peace!
Last edited by Steeroid : 2nd November 2005 at 00:44.
|2nd November 2005, 02:58||#36|
Join Date: Feb 2005
Thanked: 14 Times
Thats a real sad news during festival of lights, My deepest condolences to his family and close ones.
|2nd November 2005, 03:22||#37|
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Delhi
Thanked: 2 Times
A real Sad loss
Thats really very sad Loss to every one . My deepest condolences to his family and Friends .
Steeroid thanks for letting some light on "Philipkuttys" life . I never knew or met the Gentle man , but being a part of this community feel even i have suffered a terible loss .
But my friend such is life . Nothing is forever . certainly not our bodies, its the memories what last forever . May all who knew him cherish them for their life time .
Also huge regard to his family and may god give them the strength to take this Loss .
As a mark of respect please ignore the signature which come at the end of the posts and the Avitar .
Philipkutty , shall miss you .......
|2nd November 2005, 09:23||#40|
Join Date: May 2004
Thanked: 54 Times
I had met him day before yesterday in cochin and we confirmed the meet details.No amount of words can express the shock when the news hit me at the resort.As Steeroid rightly said,We not only lost a member but also a gentleman.
|2nd November 2005, 10:10||#41|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Feb 2005
Thanked: 502 Times
I came to know about this man and his island after reading TBHP meeting reports - usually posted by artofzen and steeroid. And I was longing to visit the farm island ever since. When steeroid PMmed me about the 1/11 meet - which I knew I cant join- in fact I felt a great disappointment as I missed both the meet and the farm and its innovative owner.
I dont know what to write now.
Reality is setting in. I will never go to that farm, and I will never meet him.
Mr. M T Vasudevan Nair, the great Malayalam writer, has defined Death as "a comedian without stage sense". An apt definition for this incident or an apt incident for the deifinition...
|2nd November 2005, 10:20||#42|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Oct 2004
Thanked: 30 Times
I am really sad to hear this. Though I never knew or met Vinod, this news is hard to digest. May his family get the courage to handle this situation. May his soul rest in peace.
|2nd November 2005, 11:11||#45|
Join Date: Jun 2005
Thanked: 0 Times
My deepest condolences to vinod's family and friends.
May his soul rest in peace. I am sure his story will inspire many more such entrepreneurs.
Last edited by Conan : 2nd November 2005 at 11:15.
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