A 76-year-old Kerala tea shop owner who visited 26 countries along with his wife in the last 16 years died on Friday after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Proprietor of Sree Balaji Coffee House, KR Vijayan and his wife Mohana’s model for making these foreign jaunts a reality was his discipline of saving Rs 300 every day from the sale proceeds, exclusively, for his next foreign jaunts.
A hero to many, Vijayan and his wife had just returned from their Russia tour last month which apparently turned out to be their last foreign trip together.
Those who know him well recall that it was way back when he started helping his father, that the passion for travel started and when he started the tea shop 27 years back, he decided to explore.
After covering most parts of India, in 2005, they took off for their first foreign trip to Egypt and since then been to the US, Germany and many more countries.
Even though he saved for their trip, when he became a hero and was covered by the international media, sponsorship also came and among those who chipped in for the couple include Amitabh Bacchan, Shashi Tharoor and Anand Mahindra.
After hearing about his exploits, recently, state Tourism Minister P.A. Mohammed Riyas came calling on him and after having a tea, asked his opinion on how tourism can be promoted in Kerala in the “best way”. He replied: “Cleanliness and attitude towards tourists… if these are there, things will be much better.”
While Vijayan has embarked on his ‘final’ journey, his wife Mohana will now be alone.