Mumbai: Darryl Castelino - Braveheart son who made his mother proud
Daijiworld Media Network – Mumbai (SP)
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Mumbai, Jun 28: He played Santa for the kids during Christmas, and his favourite snacks were the traditional vada pav and pani puri. These and many such small yet fond memories are what wing commander Darryl Castelino, the braveheart from Kinnigoli near Mangalore who laid down his life for his country, has left behind.
His family, friends, well-wishers and colleagues who knew him from close quarters recall the jovial and warm hearted person that Darryl was. His mother Leena Castelino awaited his return long after he lost his life, as she was told that he was only injured in the Uttarakhand chopper crash. In fact, Leena was intially against his joining the defence forces, but over the years, Darryl's heroic deeds have made her proud of her only son. He would regularly call her up and describe what he was doing, and she would proudly narrate the same to her neighbours, without actually realizing the dangers his job posed.
The chopper Darryl was commanding, which was carrying army personnel, was moving towards a temporary air base in Gauchar in Uttarakhand, when it crashed near Jungle Chatti, north of Gaurikund. The chopper was on its way back from a rescue mission in Kedarnath.
With wife Jyothi
The neighbourhood of Vakola, where he grew up, is in a pall of gloom. His friends say that right from the beginning, Darryl was fond of flying helicopters and it was his dream to serve the nation. During Christmas he would return home, and often play the Santa for kids. His last visit was during the Christmas of 2012.
One of his former colleagues, Capt Unnikrishnan, reminisced that Darryl was a dedicated professional who was undaunted by obstacles. His younger sister, Sheryl Braganza, recalled that her brave brother, who served the IAF for 19 years, liked to be addressed as ‘Castro Dayavan’.
People from Bantwadi in Kundapur taluk, which happens to be the native place of Darryl Castelino’s wife Jyothi, fondly recollect the visit of the soldier to their place last year. After marrying Jyothi in 2003, Darryl used to visit her hometown every year with family members. The couple celebrated their 10th anniversary only a month ago.
Sources said that this year too, he was scheduled to visit Bantwadi during November. Darryl's brother-in-law Rony Olivera and other family members left for Kolkota immediately after learning about the sad demise.