Bengaluru: Siddhartha Hegde was the only son of Gangaiah and Vasanthi Hegde, born after a lot of prayers and offerings made to gods and goddesses. He made it big, creating Café Coffee Day and turning it to an international brand. The bright son took Chikmaglur Coffee to every nook and corner of India and even abroad.
While the country is mourning the Coffee King's death, his 96-year-old father Gangaiah Hegde, still does not know that his beloved son is no more. When the CCD founder, who went missing since Monday night, was found dead early Wednesday morning on the banks of the Netravati river near Mangaluru -- his senile father was battling for his life in a private hospital in Mysore. According to his family members, he is now slipping into coma.
Fifteen days ago, Gangaiah Hegde was admitted to Shanthaveri Gopala Gowda hospital in Mysore, which is run by a relative of Siddhartha’s father-in-law and former chief minister of Karnataka, SM Krishna. His family claims that the old man is suffering from age related issues and the possibility of him recovering is bleak.
Just three days ago, Siddhartha had gone to Mysore to see his father. According his cousin, the son was in tears on seeing his father’s deteriorating health.
“I did not know that it was his last meeting with his father. Siddhartha was there for a few hours and left, promising that he will return soon. Who knew what was happening in his mind?” said one of his relatives.
At that time, Siddhartha’s mother Vasanthi Hegde, was also at her husband’s bedside. She returned to their village, Cheethanahalli, few days ago.
Gangaiah Hegde, a wealthy coffee planter, is a highly revered person in Chikmagalur district. Known for his discipline, benevolence and 'no nonsense' attitude, he earned the respect of his people. Locals from the village reminisce how till a few years back, he used to visit the weekly markets of Chikmaglur himself to buy groceries.
Siddhartha's father was a huge influence in his life. “He had imbibed good qualities from his father as a child. Gangaiah Hegde taught all virtues to his son. Siddhartha always made his father proud. It is a tragedy that he can’t participate in his son’s cremation," said Raghavendra, a long-time associate of Siddhartha. " In a way it is good that he is not in a position to understand anything. God has saved him from the trauma."
“If Siddhartha is loved by all, it is because of his parents. They made sure that his feet are firmly placed on ground. He made his parents proud by achieving a lot,” he added.
Siddhartha was a first generation businessman in his family, Raghavendra said. "His family or relatives were never into any kind of business. They are coffee planters. But, young Siddhartha was restless. He wanted to do something big. He was not interested in looking after his father’s coffee estate and managed to convince his parents to have faith in his dreams. With their permission, he relocated to Bengaluru -- never to return to settle in his village."