But two days later, on May 4, he went missing. CCTV footage from the hospital showed him walking out of the hospital ward wearing a shirt and a pair of trousers. Once he stepped out of the hospital building, however, there is no trace of him as the CCTV camera outside was apparently out of order.
The defence spokesperson in Kolkata said Mr Shukla had left his cellphone behind. Nothing unusual has been found in his list of calls and messages.
Mr Shukla was posted as junior warrant officer at Jorhat, Assam.
For now, the air force is treating it as a case of absence without leave. But the family is concerned. "My father has no history of mental illness," Tarun Shukla said. "Doctors had said he was fit for release and return to work."
Mr Shukla, who had his 53rd birthday on Wednesday, was supposed to visit Nagpur, where his son lives. His wife had been staying with her son.