Friends shocked, confused over apparent suicide of young pilot-musician

Sanjiv Daevin with his long-time musician friend Eddie Zachariah (right) on their way to an international music festival. (Eddie Zachariah pic)

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia staff and musicians are mourning the loss of retrenched pilot and multi-instrumentalist A Sanjiv Daevin, 35, who apparently took his own life on Monday.

They are shocked, confused, and heartbroken over Sanjiv’s fall from the 12th floor of his condominium in Bandar Kinrara, Selangor.

His close friends told FMT Sanjiv had shown no signs of stress or depression when they met with him recently.

However, police, in ruling out foul play, said statements recorded from people dear to Sanjiv revealed that he had been under much stress.

Sanjiv was flight captain when he was laid off, together with about 100 pilots, by the airline in March when the Covid-19 lockdown was enforced.

He joined the AirAsia Academy in 2007 and moved on as a flight officer in 2012 before becoming a captain.

A senior AirAsia staff said Sanjiv was in the office last week to get a reference letter and that he seemed “very okay”.

Another employee said some cabin crew members met with Sanjiv at a club on Sunday and that he seemed normal.

Veteran musician Eddie Zachariah said his fraternity was at a loss for words over Sanjiv’s death.

Retrenched pilot Sanjiv Daevin was a multi-instrumentalist and a key member of the Aseana Percussion Unit band. (Eddie Zachariah pic)

“As a pilot, he was trained to handle tough situations and had so much to live for,” said Zachariah, a keyboardist and pianist.

Zachariah said Sanjiv’s father told him yesterday that his son had no debts, save for some small overdue payments.

“His father told him not to worry as he would settle the payments for him,” he said.

He said Sanjiv was a talented musician who played keyboards, piano, violin, bass, guitar, and drums.

Zachariah first met Sanjiv who was 17 when he joined the Aseana Percussion Unit (APU) band.

Sanjiv replaced his pianist/violinist sister, Sujatha, in the band after she left for Berklee College of Music in the US.

APU band leader Edwin Nathaniel said Sanjiv taught piano, bass and violin at his Music Mart school in Petaling Jaya before he joined the AirAsia Academy.

He said Sanjiv was a “friend to all” and played an important role in the growth of APU and that music students adored him for his teaching skills.

Nathaniel said there was no indication that Sanjiv was depressed when they met recently.

He said Sanjiv had many talents including speaking German fluently, a language he learned when he was in Germany for a year as a foreign exchange student.

Sanjiv’s remains were cremated at the DBKL Crematorium in Cheras this afternoon.