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‘We’re going to NY, not to join our son for a holiday, but to pay homage to him’

Nearly one year after the terrorist strikes on the US, Anand Puttur hasn’t stopped crying for his son. On September 11, he will be in t...

Written by Johnson T A | Bangalore |
September 10, 2002

Nearly one year after the terrorist strikes on the US, Anand Puttur hasn’t stopped crying for his son. On September 11, he will be in the city that snatched his son Hemanth Kumar away, mourning along with all those who lost somebody they knew, somebody they loved that long day in September.

For the families of the Indians who were among the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, memories of their dear ones have tumbled over tears almost everyday of their lives for the past 12 months. At least some of these families will pay homage at the memorial service in New York, courtesy the American Red Cross, which will fly them across.

‘‘A few days before (his death), Hemanth called and promised that he would take us with him for a holiday. Now we are going there, me and my wife, not to join him for a holiday, but to pay homage to him,’’ says the father, a tailor from Puttur near Mangalore.

Hemanth was one of the four Wipro employees killed in the WTC attack. The family has received his belongings and compensation from the US Government, but Hemanth’s 55-year-old mother Kusuma still hopes her son is alive. ‘‘He’ll be there to receive us when we reach the US,’’ she says.

‘‘They were heroes who lost their lives to terrorism. They will be remembered as heroes,’’ cries D S Ranganath, father of another Wipro engineer, 25-year-old Shreyas.

Over the past year, the Ranganaths have been in touch with the families of other Wipro employees reported dead after the attack. Ranganath, his wife and younger son flew to New York on September 7 with the Putturs and the Kadaba family—who live a few blocks away, in Bangalore’s Basavanagudi area.

The Kadaba family lost their 26-year-old son Shashikiran Lakshmikanth Kadaba. Like Hemanth, Shashikiran was on the threshold of marriage.

‘‘We will also be meeting the Hyderabad-based family of Deepika Kumar in New York,’’ said Ranganath. Deepika, mother of a young child, is the fourth Wipro executive reported dead.

For the family of Syed Fatha, a 54-year-old employee of a general business firm on the 101st floor of the WTC, hope flickered till Fatha’s brother, Syed Abdul Rahman, went to New York last year and failed to trace him. ‘‘We thought he would be alive or injured. But my brother-in-law couldn’t find anything,’’ Fatha’s wufe, Shahtaj, says. Two of her children will be travelling to New York with their uncle to participate in the service.

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