Live from Kenya: `If I die, you take care of the kids`

Last Updated: Sep 26, 2013, 20:39 PM IST

Akash Soni

Jasmine Postwalla, originally from Mumbai but settled in Nairobi, was in the shopping mall at around 1230 on Saturday. She had organised a Superchef Contest for children. The children, their family and organisers were in the mall when they heard a loud explosion. Kenya is used to crime but not to terror. It was only after more powerful explosions that she saw two men of African-origin spraying bullets, lobbing grenades walking towards her. As they randomly fired, Jasmine saw people falling, blood spilling - then it struck her this is a terror attack.

Her colleague Rohilla Aditya Sood of Indian origin, who was seven-month pregnant, was shot dead. She saw more friends die in front of her. She was worried about her three-year-old son Kayan, who was away, and she could not see him. Kayan was with his aunt in the same mall away from his mother`s sight. Jasmine`s daughter was shielded by her husband Xerxes. Terrorists kept shooting randomly. They all started saying prayers - a Punjabi lady reciting the Guru Granth Saheb, a Hindu lady chanting mantras and some Muslims too were praying.

One al Shabaab terrorist, says Jasmine, asked who is the Muslim here, the man raised his hand and was immediately released and soon later another Muslim was asked to leave.

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Jasmine tried to reason out with the two terrorists and requested to release her and her children. More people followed. Terrorists shot dead the next man who spoke. Xerxes asked his wife Jasmine to stop talking to them. It was shortly afterwards that Jasmine thought she would die.

As Jasmine saw people dying in front of her, she told her husband - "I told my husband if I die, you take care of the kids. He replied, you too."

Zee Media correspondent felt tears welling up in his eyes. He asked Jasmine and Xerxes, "How is it that I cannot fight my tears after listening to your stories but you who went through the nerve-wracking ordeal are not crying?"

"We have cried a lot for three days - I think even our tears have dried up," said Jasmine.

"But the wounds remain in our psyche. A grenade fell near my feet. Its shrapnel is inside my feet. It will sooner or later be okay, but the wounds in my heart will remain for long. I tried counselling but that did not help much. Holding hands with my family and close colleagues and friends did, but that too only to a certain extent. "