Kochi : KR Vijayan, the tea seller known for his late life love of overseas vacationing that he funded with humble means, has passed away aged 71. The end came following a heart attack at Sree Sudheendra Medical Mission hospital in Kochi, where he was admitted earlier in the day following uneasiness.
Vijayan and his wife Mohana have visited 26 countries spanning 6 continents in the past 16 years, including their one-week trip to Russia last month despite the pandemic. At the time, shortly before their journey, Minister Mohammed Riyas visited the couple at their shop, returning after briefly hearing travel stories and savouring snacks they served. Tpically, when on a trip, the couple shutter the shop with a board hanging outside stating their visit to a particular country and expected date of return.
The couple’s foreign picnics were funded by the income they earned from budget tea shop named Balaji Tea Shop in Gandhinagar, near Kadavantra, Ernakulam. The shop was set up 47 years ago using loans.
Later, as story of their wanderlust caught wide attention, contributions poured in from celebrities, to help the couple travel. A visit to United States, they called their ‘dream destination’ took-off from similar help, after celebrities, including Anupam Kher, contributed to raise the Rs 3 lakh needed.
Vijayan’s final journey now to beyond horizons will be mourned by family and friends and also a legion of well-wishers who loved the his bohemian style.