Nalini Amma, her daughter and son were killed in Delhi hotel blaze
On a couple of tables bunched together in the courtyard of a nondescript house at Cheranalloor were three walnut-finished caskets stuck with labels bearing the names of the occupants.
Having left for Delhi to attend a wedding last week, Nalini Amma, 84, her daughter Jayasree, 53, and son Vidyasagar, 60, who were killed in a fire in a hotel there on Tuesday, were reduced to those labels in what turned out to be a horrible homecoming.
Crowd at their house
A large crowd gathered at the ancestral home of the dead when the caskets were moved in at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
Nalini Amma lay flanked by her son and daughter for the next few hours even as the fragrance of burning camphor filled the air. Leaning on the wall of the house and staring helplessly at the caskets were Jayasree’s husband Unnikrishnan and son Gauri Shankar.
Over three hours of wait for the remaining members of the 13-member group who had gone to Delhi ended around 12.30 p.m.
As they emerged out of the vehicle carrying them from the airport, women, including Madhuri, wife of Vidyasagar, and Sudha, Nalini Amma’s daughter, burst into tears.
In another 15 minutes, their kin came in for the parting rituals. Vishnu Menon, Vidaysagar’s son whose marriage was scheduled for March 17, had a tough time fighting back tears as he performed the last rites, while being unable to see one last time his father’s face hidden behind the closed casket.
Even as the casket wrapped in a red cloth was shifted into an ambulance at 12.55 p.m., P.C. Somasekharan, son of Nalini Amma, started performing the rituals for his mother. During the course of the rituals, he leaned on his mother’s casket with trembling hands as if unable to take in the trauma of the past two days.
The bodies of Vidyasagar and Nalini Amma were cremated at an adjacent property belonging to the family around 1 p.m.
Jayasree’s body was taken to her husband’s house at Chottanikkara where it was consigned to flames around 4 p.m.