51-yr-old to corporate executive to celebrate his ’17th’ birthday on Dec 26

Insight Online News

Fifty-one-year-old V. Raghupathy, a senior executive with a software company, will be celebrating his “17th” birthday along with his wife, son and daughter on December 26.

Chennai, Dec 25 : Fifty-one-year-old V. Raghupathy, a senior executive with a software company, will be celebrating his “17th” birthday along with his wife, son and daughter on December 26.

“That was the day we were reborn in 2004,” he told IANS.

It was on December 26, 2004 morning that Tsunami struck the Tamil Nadu coast claiming about 8,000 lives.

On December 24, 2004, Raghupathy and his family had checked into a seaside resort. They had spent the Christmas day visiting Dakshinchirtra, a heritage centre and that night they had gone to the beach.

Little did they know that the next morning would turn into a nightmare leaving a lifetime imprint in their minds.

On the morning of December 26, the Raghupathys went to the glass-walled restaurant of the beach resort for breakfast.

“My children were playing near the swimming pool. They were reluctant, but I had cajoled them to have breakfast first and then return to the pool,” Raghupathy mused.

At the restaurant, Raghupathy had just picked up a plate when suddenly there was a commotion.

“I turned to my left only to see a huge blue wall of water. Dropping the plate I shouted to my wife to run towards the road removing her high heeled shoes. I picked up my two children, put them on my shoulders and started running,” Raghupathy said.

“God willing, I will meet you outside with the children. Otherwise you carry on with your life,” he told her amid the din.

The tsunami wave smashed on the restaurant’s glass wall and flooded the place.

“The water rose to chest level. I held on to my children tightly and waded through the water to reach the road,” he said, reliving those terrible moments.

On reaching home that afternoon and switching on the television, he realised the magnitude of the damage and the loss of lives in the tsunami – more than 230,000 in Asia, around 8,000 in Tamil Nadu and around 180 in Chennai alone.

“Come to think of it, it has been long since we had been to the beach. For a long time my son had a phobia towards water bodies and daughter woke up at nights with startled,” Raghupathy said.

“Recently, we had been to Jaipur. At the hotel my son and daughter swam in the pool,” he said.

“Next February we will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. Perhaps we may even go to that beach resort where we had that lifetime adventurous experience,” Raghpathy clammed up.

IANS/ AGENCY

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