Little Ashwini lost her life. Sasidha is badly
burned – two innocents caught up in the Milagiriya bomb blast
“I saw her through the glass. She’s
fully wrapped in bandages, and there is a tube through her nostrils.
I wanted to hold her once more, but couldn’t as I was not
able to go into the ICU. I saw my little daughter’s tiny frock
burnt beyond recognition. I wanted to hold her in my arms for the
last time…” weeps B. Jagatheswaran, 40, the husband
and father of innocent victims, a mother and the daughter, of Tuesday’s
brutal blast in Colombo. At the time of writing, Sasidha, his young
wife, just 31, lay in the ICU at the National Hospital with severe
burn injuries. His little daughter Ashwini, aged two years and seven
months was killed in the blast.
Last Tuesday began like any other working day
for Jagatheswaran and his family. As he got ready to go to work
at the Sarawana Bawan Restaurant, close to Dickman’s Road,
in Bambalapitiya, his wife and her parents, also working close to
Dickman’s Road, were also preparing to leave their home in
Kirulapone. His son, J. Thiyakaran, who is in grade four in Hindu
College, Colombo was the first to leave.
“I felt very happy that morning to see our daughter growing
up fast. She was supposed to go to montessori in October, and I
couldn’t wait to see her growing up and wearing a school uniform.
I was thinking about such things on that morning. While I was about
to leave, my daughter was chewing bubble gum, swinging her legs
from the settee. I didn’t pet her, as I thought I can see
her later in the evening,” said Jagatheswaran, wiping his
Usually, Sasidha would take Ashwini with her to
the house where she worked, and pick up their son from his after-school
classes on Tuesdays before returning home with him. But destiny
had a different plan for Sasidha on this particular Tuesday.
After leaving her workplace, she had walked with
a lunch packet towards Hindu College, and met her son Thiyakaran,
who said that as there were no after-school classes, he wanted to
go home by himself. She patted him and bid her final goodbye.
Having time on her hands, Sasidha had taken Ashwini
to the nearest park and watched her play. She had wanted her to
try on the new pair of shoes she had bought for her, but the little
girl was enjoying playing so much, she had no spare moment to stop,
even for a short time to try out her new shoes.
As the child played Sasidha lost track of time,
even forgetting the lunch packet she was supposed to give to her
father. Rushing, she left the park, little realising they were walking
to their doom.
Ashwini died instantly in the blast, but Sasidha
was rushed to hospital with severe burn injuries. Doctors are doubtful
if she will ever be able to open her eyes again.
“It’s a gruesome punishment when you
cannot even hold your loved one’s hand for the final time.
It’s even worse, when you can’t see their faces. What
else do I want to see in the future? Everything is gone. This should
never happen to anyone,” Jagatheeswaran mourned.
Picking up his wedding photo, he looked sadly
at the picture of his radiant bride. She was a happy housewife and
mother, he wept.
People gathered at Jagatheswaran’s home
were angry that high officials, who are targets of terrorist attacks
live close to schools putting the lives of schoolchildren at risk.
“Why can’t they all, the so-called ‘targeted people’
move into one place? Why do they have to live near schools?”