Who Will Call Me Grandma?

A frail, heartbroken Maya Wati looked at the draped coffins of her grandchildren and exclaimed ‘hame nani kaun boli ab’ (who will call me grandma now). She was lamenting the
31 Jul 2015 11:31
Who Will Call Me Grandma?
The Kinoya community, family and friends of the Prasad family pay their last respects at Kaloa Street in Kinoya yesterday. Photo: Paulini Ratulailai

A frail, heartbroken Maya Wati looked at the draped coffins of her grandchildren and exclaimed ‘hame nani kaun boli ab’ (who will call me grandma now).

She was lamenting the loss of Tanvi, 6, and Jerrale Prasad, 2 years 4 months.

They were allegedly hanged by their father, Johit Prasad, before he hanged himself in their Kaloa St home in Kinoya on Saturday.  Prasad also attacked wife Karishma Lal with a knife. She is still in hospital.

As the children’s coffins were brought into “The House of Death” and placed on the floor side by side, Ms Wati wailed: “My grandchildren are no more, no one to call me grandma, no one to call me mother.

“Open your eyes, and talk to me.

“They are going, leaving me and I can’t stop them. I don’t know this has happened.

“My daughter is still fighting for her life, she is not even here to say goodbye to her kids.”

Her cries filled the air as hundreds of people  packed the house, a shed and the usually quiet street. The tragedy captured the hearts of many people from all walks of life.

Yesterday, they came to pay their last respects and catch a glimpse of the two children. Many were not related to the family.

Cars, vans and trucks were parked bumper to bumper on both sides of the street.

People came all the way from Suva, Nasinu, Nausori corridor, Rakiraki, Labasa as well as abroad to pay their final respects.

The three coffins covered in purple with white lining adorned with flowers arrived at 11.40am in two separate funeral service vehicles at the residence.

They were carried inside the house for few minutes as many sobbed.

Then they were moved to the shed for the religious rituals. The caskets were opened to show the faces of the three. A priest conducted the puja.

Chandan (sandalwood) and turmeric were applied on the forehead of the victims. A garland of flowers was placed around the neck, and holy basil was placed in the caskets.

After the religious ritual people filed past the coffins to pay their last respects.

The priest described Mr Prasad as a humble, caring and friendly man and the kids as two sweet, happy beings.

Ms Wati sat between her grandchildren’s coffins and cried.

Mr Prasad’s sister Hem Lata sat beside her and grieved the loss of her only brother and children.

Ms Lal’s brother Pranish Deo Lal said it was an unfortunate event in their family.

“They were such a happy family and no arguments were known to us,” he said.

“The children were very close to me and it is a heartbreaking time for our family as we also pray for my sister’s recovery.”

Rentokil Initial Fiji staff also joined in to express their condolences. Mr Prasad, 34, was national sales manager and Ms Lal, 30, is financial manager.

Rentokil country manager Edwin Pillay said: “Johit was a hardworking and a nice man and his presence will never be forgotten.

“We will remember all the beautiful memories left behind by you and we pray that yours and your children’s soul rest in peace.”

People spoke out openly.

Prem Kumari said: “Why kill the innocent kids, what they know.”

Neighbour Kelera Bativou, 37, said they were still in shock.

“I have known the family for four years, they were such nice and happy people,” she said.

“I would always meet the kids and father and mingle with them and it’s hard to believe this. I feel sorry for the kids.”

Former neighbour Swaran Lata said: “God forbid something like this to ever happen in any home.”

It was hard to find dry eyes.

Police had to be called in to control the crowd as they jostled for space.

Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Akbar, Permanent Secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta and other members of the ministry also visited the house to share their grievance.

At 1.30pm, the coffins were closed and  taken to the Wainibuku Crematorium for the cremation.

Following Hindu tradition, Mr Prasad and Jerrale were placed on one wood pyre and Tanvi on a separate pyre. The final prayers were said before they were set alight.





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