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Sanjay Turlapati
Death Date : 23-Jun-1985
Deepak Turlapati
Death Date : 23-Jun-1985





Sanjay and Deepak were victims of terrorist bomb placed by sikh terrorists living in Vancouver area of Canada on Air India plane (Kanishka) travelling from Toronto to Delhi which exploded in mid-air off the coast of Ireland on 23rd June 1985.
They were innocent young men aged 14 and 11 years and were our only children.
In their loving memory inserted by their parents (father and mother) Turlapatis


Deepak and Sanjay




Speech by Padmini Turlapati on 23 June 2024


Dear Dignitaries, families and friends,

Good morning.

My husband Babu, elderly grandson Babu and I welcome you all again especially Mark who brought Sanjay from the ocean to my arms. Jerry his friend was with him on their boat and is here today.


We bid Sanjay (14) and Deepak (11) adieu at the airport. Deepak went carefree talking animatedly with friends, while Sanjay turned back at least 15 times to wave us goodbye. Why? a transient sense of foreboding stilled as control regained. Why? He’s your son, can’t let go said Babu, be a man. I retorted he’s only a boy but wondered all night. The next morning at 6am we were woken up to Air India flight 182 had a bomb on it that exploded, and plane fell into the Irish sea- bodies were taken to Cork. While Deepak was one with the waters, Sanjay on the other hand surfaced with one shoe on, respectfully to assure us that it was all too real. We then took his body to his maternal grandmother who had reared him solely for four years. He was buried in Vijayawada, India.

In 1970 I had been to my Obstetrician. I was ready to birth but she asked me to come back in 4 days. But she had a dream that night asked me to come right away at 6am, December 30. The fetal heart was dropping and emergency cesarian section ensued, the umbilical cord was tightly wound around his neck, once relieved came all 9lbs 6oz of him crying loudly. In 1973 I almost delivered Deepak into the bed pan but for the timely push up on to the bed by the attendant, out came lusty 6lbs 9oz—both dramatic entries!

Sanjay (so named by sister Sujatha) meant foresight. He grew up to be a tall, dark handsome gentle giant. I never heard him swear or shout. He was the best all round student at school. When family attended a temple, and I came out chatting loudly with friends and thereafter approached him, while he had been sitting aloof in a quiet place- “mom you’re just been praying”. According to him after praying one should go home in the same meter.  Yet, another time while I was exchanging words with my husband, I became aware of Sanjay leaning against the doorpost say grow up, shrug his shoulder, straighten and go off. My mom had told him mothers should be treated reverently. He would always walk a step behind on my right side. Even when engrossed watching TV, this teenager would notice me and would carry the laundry down to the basement of the apartment. He became my conscience.

I was always urging/scolding Deepak to make his bed and tidy up his mess. The last day was no exception, and I found all his stuff shoved under his neatly made bed.


Mom, I am a born actor, my teacher said so when one of the children in school play fell sick on the final day and Deepak promptly stepped onto.  He partook in “Owl TV Show” and elsewhere and I received by post his cheque for $1,000 (a day after his death). Deepak was mischievous, boisterous, loving and caring was loved by one and all. He called Sanjay a dead bore. He loved classical music too and when one of his friends mocked, laughed at him, he said it is music isn’t it, tune out if you don’t like it. Rock and Roll was more his forte and he loved and mimicked Michael Jackson dancing to his song “Thrill” with abandon.


In 1984-85 I had gone to Newfoundland to do a residency and work to get FRCP in pediatrics leaving Sanjay and Deepak with their father in Toronto. We could talk for an hour once a week. Sanjay would say the hour is over and Deepak would say heck I would put the phone down. Sanjay would say “mom when I think of you I lie down on the floor with my feet on the chair and listen to Chopin and instrumental music and I feel you”. Deepak would say I want to pick up the phone to speak with you but – how did I do that – go away.  I only thought to do my residency and get FRCP degree. I would get a good job and give my children a better life in future – the future was not to be.


My husband was cooking twenty eggplants for them. I said why twenty? He said they are growing children – they love my cooking. Yes sir, he is a very good cook and Sanjay was there to help him.  I went to Toronto in 1985 to pack for children’s trip to India. Keep things ready for them on their return to Toronto. Deepak said “Sanj, mom has come only to work and not to play with us”. These words were so true, and I was too dumb to note that time and tide wait for no one, not even a dumb blind woman! I was only thinking, planning, shopping, sorting and making things easy for them.  Well now, I have all the time in the world to repent at leisure. What a cost! The last year Babu spent with them became his Salvation.


Sanjay was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. My father was the Union Minister of Irrigation and Power at that time and together with my mom lavished all their attention on him. Babu and I had moved from my parent’s residence to an apartment at the hospital. My parents arranged for Sanjay to be picked up from our apartment in the morning and we would go over and pick him up for returning in the evening. One afternoon, I got off early came to my mom’s home to see Sanjay riding piggyback on the back of a helper pretend horse while my mother was walking in the garden with spoon feeding Sanjay.


Babu got a job in Nigeria I followed him later with baby Deepak but left Sanjay behind with my parents. I was going to work in Nigeria and did not think I could handle Sanjay as well. He was to write in his memoir of being left behind “why me?”. He came to us in summer for his holidays and then in 1982 joined us to come to Canada. In 1985, Sanjay and Deepak were going to see their grandparents and family in India. So much for planning! The rest is history.


Behind sorrow there is always a sorrow, birth and death of a child (twice for two children) an intense and extraordinary reality. Secret of life is suffering it is what is hidden behind everything. Community suffering (as with this plane crash) makes one kind and sympathetic – silent rhythmic chain of human companionship.


Thank You 





Speech by Padmini Turlapati on 23 June 2023

Dignitaries, family and friends,

My husband Babu, I and grandson Babu meet you all again this year.

We lost our children Sanjay (14) and Deepak (11).

Sanjay was tall, handsome, considerate, a gentle giant (his teacher called him so). I had never heard him swear. My husband found him typing on the kitchen floor, because he did not want to disturb our sleep (our room was two doors away!).

He wrote an article ‘Death, be not Proud’ when our dog died. His teacher having read that wanted to publish a book and was urging him to write a few more articles.

Deepak was popular, bubbly, bold, bratzy and beloved. He befriended an 80-year-old. She told us he’d bike up to her daily and say “I came to see if you’re alive and if you needed anything” and took her the needful. She gave him two dollars and my husband scolded him for taking it, so he rode back, returned the money and said “you’re too old to pay”.

At school teahers discovered he was a born actor when he partook in a play.

In Canada there is a restriction of age for boys to deliver newspapers and he being under age got the newspaper delivery route when he told the newspaper agent “I am a 11 year old but I have a brother 14 year old who is not interested” so he got the job. I insisted that Sanjay go with him as I did not want Deepak to go through two apartment buildings alone. Of course, Sanjay had to put newspaper bundles in the cart and carry it, while Deepak took the paper from Sanjay and gave it to the homeowner. When money was paid to him, I asked him to give to Sanjay too. Shocked he says” Mom, don’t you know you do not share your money or your wife”.

I walked a mile with pleasure                

She chatted all the way                         

But left me none the wiser                     

For all she had to say

I walked a mile with sorrow

And ne’er a word said she

But Oh! the things I learnt from her                          

When sorrow walked with me


How fragile life is


I heard your voice in the wind today

and I turned to see you’re face

The warmth of the wind caressed me

as I stood silently in place.

I felt your touch in the sun today

as the warmth filled the sky

I closed my eyes for your embrace

and my spirits soared high.

I saw you’re eyes in the window pane

as I watched the falling rain

It seemed as each rain drop fell

It quietly said your name(s)


No mother should outlive violent deaths of her children.

But my time crawls at snail pace.

Till then Au revoir.


Speech by Padmini Turlapati on 23 rd June 2019 at the memorial site in Ahakista, Ireland

Dignitaries, Family and Friends,
It is three years since we all met together on this occasion. My husband Babu and I and g’son Babu are graced this year by the presence of my brother Ashok and my sister-in-law Nina who winged in from India to just be with us on this occasion, and Mark from UK (who was in the rescue mission at the time), and brought Sanjay from the ocean to my arms, Thanks eternal.
We lost our sons Sanjay (14) and Deepak (11).
Sanjay was described by his grade 6 Irish teacher as a tall dark handsome giant who she saw with a halo around his head, and wanted him to write a book after reading his article ‘Death be not proud’ written in his school journal, on the passing away of his dog snoopy. My mother (he had spent a few years with her in India) had told him that mom was like a God, so when he came back home to us in Nigeria he was standing up when I came into the room, helping me every chance he got, kept his room clean and even when during an argument with my husband I became aware of him, he told me to grow up and left.
Deepak, was my terror, he kept his part of the room clean (of course, when I bent under his bed after his death, I discovered a whole world out there). Deepak was given a paper route when he told the man an11-year-old should not be barred from a paper route when he had a 14-year-old brother who was not interested. So, when he was given the job to distribute the newspapers in our apartment building and two others, I asked Sanjay to please go with him because I did not want Deepak to go to all those apartments alone. So here, Sanjay received and put all those papers in the cart, pulled the cart and followed Deepak. Deepak would knock on the door and deliver the paper. When the money came, I asked Deepak to share it with Sanjay. Deepak said “mom, don’t you know, you don’t share your money or your wife!”.
Deepak was a born actor, this talent discovered at school when his friend fell sick and Deepak volunteered as his replacement. He could charm a bird off its tree nest. Prince Charming, I called him in my mind. I went to see his play the night before and was enchanted and proud of him. I came home tired and wanted to sleep, not chat. So, I pretended to be sleeping when Deepak came in, caressed my hair, kissed my forehead and left. I did not know that was his last goodnight, alas! I hadn’t even hugged  him good night.  At the airport, Sanjay told his dad, now no one will sit in the back – a causal remark we thought at the time. Let us not look for you only in memory
Where we would grow lonely without you
You would want us to find you in presence
Beside us when beauty brightens
When Kindness glows
And music echoes eternal tones.
To enter each day with a generous heart
To serve the call of courage with love
Until we see your beautiful faces again
In that land where there is no more separation,
Where all tears will be wiped from our mind,
And where we will never lose you both ever again.



Speech by Dr. Padmini Turlapati for 36th Anniversary Video

Going to Ireland, to the site Ahakista has become my annual pilgrimage to Sanjay and Deepak. It is my privilege to meet again families away from home, my anam caras. I am deeply indebted for their spontaneous, enfolding, encompassing affection- to me a gift from God.

Life is short and I have always hoped that only extraneous circumstances will withhold my journey. My husband decided that we will not go this year because of Covid.

I will miss the unpredictable Irish weather, the welcome from the airport, the rental car personnel, the drive to Ahakista, the welcome from our cottage home and welcome tea & scones from Agnes. I will miss Angela, Mary, James, Geraldine Hegarty, Michael Murphy and his team, the Cork County personnel who maintain the gardens& upkeep at the site. I will miss Ruth who is an anchor good girl Friday doing all the sustenance, the groundwork and assessing, ensuring everything including photos, flowers, garden maintenance at the site and arrangements for the day’s ceremony. I will miss the school personnel, principal, teachers who arrange for children to sing at the site. I will miss the priests and holy men, even the refreshments provided by Nuala like friends. I am indebted to the workers who work in the garden at the site, flags for the day and make all the arrangements. I will miss the ambassadors and all who grace the ceremony. I appreciate & grateful to County Cork and to Ruth who contributes hundred percent of herself beyond her call friendship duty. I will miss the librarians who even before I land at Bantry get my books ready for my perusal. I will miss the florist who gets the wreaths made for us. Each and everyone I meet there is a blessing of goodness. I believe and I know the Irish believe ‘ in the beyond’ and every encounter is a meant to be .

I know I can dream in Ireland to my hearts content and belief in the ‘fey’ and ever after without any pretensions - free in word and spirit. I believe it is the Irish air. This place brings out the best in me.

I feel my children with hugs, cloak cocoon & attune my body, mind and spirit – in harmony. I guard that knowledge zealously, within me I have grown by leaps & bounds—yet my children withhold my leap of faith—you are not ready- it is not time yet ma they whisper.

 Till we meet again.

Thank you     



In 2020 it is a virtual ceremony because of restrictions on travel and maximum number of people attending an event due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Remembered by Dr. Padmini Turlapati on this special anniversary:

Dear friends,

My father taught me to count & told me counting is all dreaming your wishes come true, sometimes they do.

You count to three before you wish

You count to ten before you open your eyes

You count to twenty before you take your next breath open to wonder

You count to hundred for wishes to come true for eternity in a cup.


Memories are made, memories are kept

memories fade, while I wept and slept.


I forgot all the before

while I wallowed in the after

and Life became just a line

compressed in between.


I sabotaged my future

Afraid and refused to dream

I punished myself for living on

A lonely soulless being I became

Stuck within, unable to move on


I look at your pictures on the wall

Smiling at me

Witnessing this creature

despairing endlessly


Is she our mother?

You seem to ask--- ma—ma where are you?


Suddenly I straighten my shoulders

and lift up my chin

the creature ashamed responsible within


Yes, your mother I am

Yesteryears I was

Your mother I’ll remain


That is all it was

That is all it will be,


I brace my shoulders

and put on a smile

Your mother filled with boundless love

Suffused and over loving Love I feel

Suffocated not knowing when, what

or how to channelize and show it yet

Besides me my sons

Now my angels, guide me on

Sanjay, my first born, your name given to me by Sujatha and so you grew with dignity & stoicism, soft spoken, gentle and kind yet strong & committed. With poetic insight & empathy you sensed the senseless energy spent on discrimination and control and wrote of them in your poems. You were sensitive and loyal and respectful to a fault. I was so gross --- I dragged you off from watching a climax on the TV show just to accompany me to the basement so I could wash laundry. You never voiced otherwise—my word was your undisputed command—and I never realized then your generosity in accommodating me. You walked beside a step behind me-always protective. I was so blind, I never gave you a hug then. When I went to Newfoundland and left you behind you said you felt me when you listened to music with abandon lying on the floor with your legs & feet on the chair. Bereft am I of this kindred spirit . When and how can I ever begin to lament. Where can I search for you----endlessly in the wind.

Deepak, the zest in my life- always active in spirit, thought and deed. Laughing, active playing hide & seek lest your seemless loving be discovered.

You were a born actor, taken at face value you hid the depth of your love& light in your careless mane and manner, as you touched everything with carefree abandon & compassion. I did not hug you enough but scolded you for your brattiness. I have now my whole life to spend in regret. Not living in the moment I lost the world of spontaneity. Babu did a great job of showing you love & care saving so many moments than I did. When we came to Canada you said you loved it so much you wanted to be here forever and I told you the choice will be yours ultimately. My job was to expose you to opportunities. You were to follow and as you grow older was the choice.

Alas, son the choice was never ours-the finger having written moved on---Fate.

Deepak every day, I ask you to forgive me every moment. I ask myself was I a good mother. Did I show you how much I loved you? I did not know the limit of time but thought I had a life time of time to show you. So much has been untraveled, so much has been left unspoken- all that is left is the embers of your love burning in my heart.

If I were lying down asleep- Deepak would come and lift one eyelid up “ ouch: I was just checking to see if you were asleep”. Oh sure Deepak! Original way to be woken up-- sometimes  Deepak would come and would talk away all his issues at school, at home with Sanjay, with a friend—and I would snap him away ‘ let me sleep’.

Little did I know of the brevity of time and I did not listen—to your voice or laughter. Yet, did you know your mother loved you through your hurt—son , forgive me my ears now are for listening but you do not come. Stolen time.


link to YouTube video on the 35th Anniversary


Media release by Cork County Council:

Mayor of the County of Cork welcomes Online Commemoration of Air India Flight 182 for the families of victims on 35th Anniversary

Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr Ian Doyle will participate in a YouTube remembrance ceremony for the victims of Air India Flight 182 and Narita International Airport bombings, following an invitation from families of the victims of the 1985 terrorist attack.

Mayor Doyle will join Ambassador of India to Ireland, Mr Sandeep Kumar and Chargée d'Affaires of Canadian Embassy to Canadian citizens living in Ireland, Ms. Sabine Nolke, in commemorating the event alongside Mrs. Padmini Turlapti, who will speak on behalf of the families.

A Commemoration event is held annually at a memorial garden near Ahakista County Cork, which is attended by family and friends of those who lost their lives on Flight 182 in 1985. Due to the current travel restrictions, the families have decided to deliver the remembrance event through a YouTube Video which will be released on the day of the anniversary, Tuesday June 23rd.

The compiled video will include a recording of a prayer by Canon Paul Willoughby, Church of Ireland and a Catholic reading from a member of the laity. Ahakista National School will also submit a musical recording.

The families have asked Cork County Council to lay a wreath on their behalf in advance of the anniversary and record doing so for inclusion in the video.

The Canadian Embassy and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have requested that the Council lay a wreath on behalf of the Government of Canada. Mayor Doyle requested the same on his behalf and that of the people of Cork County. A wreath will also be laid on behalf of the Government of India and on behalf of the families of the 331 victims of the attacks.

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Ian Doyle commented, “It is deeply saddening that the families of those who were so tragically killed on this day 35 years ago cannot visit the memorial in Ahakista to mourn their loved ones.  The bereavement and the suffering caused that day and the senseless loss of so many is impossible to fathom. While nothing can remedy that loss, we acknowledge it and carry it together as a community. The current travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 mean that it is not possible for the families to travel to West Cork for the annual commemoration and celebration of their dead, so the families have decided to gather instead in a virtual space for the 2020 event. As Mayor of the County of Cork I am honoured on behalf of the people of County Cork to be a part of this remembrance tradition.”

Cork County Council has maintained a close connection with the families of the victims and has participated in and supported the annual remembrance gathering. For many years the annual remembrance has been held in the memorial garden which was developed to provide the families with a peaceful place to remember their loved ones.  The Council is committed to maintaining this garden which is dedicated to all those who died on the Air India flight 182 on 23rd June 1985 and has over the years has become a cherished place for the families to visit and to remember their loved ones.



Speech by Padmini Turlapati on 23 rd June 2019 at the memorial site in Ahakista, Ireland

Dear Excellencies, Dignitaries and Friends,

We three representatives of the victims’ families have been blessed to see all of you take time off your Sunday to partake of our 34 th visit to our beloved sanctuary here. Who would have thought, dreamt, envisaged that this tragedy would foster a bond between Canadians, Indo-Canadians and you the Irish that would cement and grow into a spontaneous, seamless, soulful symphony. I hear music in my ears long after I return to Toronto. I would like to specially mention Mark who brought Sanjay out of the ocean for us to hold in our arms. Michael Murphy the main force procuring, shaping this site, sharing of himself, family and crew. Nouala, Tim, Brenda, Agnes, Joe, Angela, Mary, James and Ruth - God send one and all. All through these 34 years you have upheld, uplifted, nurtured and supported us. We came to you broken. You need not have, but your hospitality, your effortless generosity was spent in healing us, further, in befriending us and giving us this site to call our own. We have been humbled. Our heartfelt gratitude is ever yours truly. Sanjay & Deepak couldn’t have chosen a better place or humane people. For me & Babu and Babu Pulle (my eternal grandson) this pilgrimage site will attest to that. We came here and at this site we plant and pray. A garden of love has and is growing and blooming. This transcends every emotion as we are assured that this sacred site will remain so for all our lives and beyond.

Amen to that.

Sanjay our 14-year-old, teenager was quiet, bright but humble. When he was 9 years old, my mother told him that mothers are God’s representatives on earth and must be cherished so. When he came to Kaduna, Nigeria where my husband, Deepak & I were. Sanjay was to be and continued to be my holy terror - he stood up when I came into the room, helped me with whatever I was doing, always stood a step behind on my right side when I was going about or out, always smiling and calm. Even when he was engrossed watching an interesting climax on TV and I said I am going downstairs to the laundry room of the apartment building, he got up and came with me. When I and Babu were having an argument, I sensed Sanjay behind me and turned. He was leaning against the door. He looked at me and said “grow up” and left. After his death, his 5 th /6 th grade teachers came and told me that they had discussed Sanjay. His 5 th grade teacher, an Irish lady, said that she saw a halo around his head. In his school journal 10 year old Sanjay wrote a poem ‘Death be not proud’ (when his dog died). She wanted him to write more and intended to publish a book! He used to listen to music with his head on the floor and feet up on the sofa and in that music, he said he found me (I was at that time in St Johns, Newfoundland, 1000 miles away).

Deepak, our 11 year old, was intelligent, active, bubbly, rebellious yet lovable and he bossed Sanjay. He cleaned his room and bed and after his death I discovered a whole world under his neat bed! He loved music, danced to Michael Jackson. When his friends teased him about classical music he stood up to them “well that’s music too, isn’t it?”. He wanted to earn money, be given a newspaper route. When he phoned “I have a 14 year old brother who doesn’t want a job so why can’t a 11 year old get it if he wants a job. What has age got to do with delivering newspapers?” and he was hired. I was scared of him going alone to all the 50 apartments in the two buildings so I asked Sanjay to go with him. Of course, Sanjay landed up picking up the newspaper bundles, sorting them out, putting them in the cart & pushing the cart. Deepak would knock on the door and graciously deliver it to the owner with a smile. When he was paid money at the end of the month, I asked Deepak to share it with Sanjay “No, mom don’t you know?” he said “you never share your money or your wife!”.

Just the other day, I was feeling your voices have gone fainter, your faces appeared less often & I felt sad. But my heart beat louder as if to say “Sanjay is in your blood flowing in you and Deepak your sight that brings light into your soul. How can you think that you have been left adrift? Remember Sanjay is the zest, Deepak the light- internalize – and seek the warmth that’s always within you”. I sheepishly sensed Deepak “Mom what am I going to do with you? I know you miss us more at Ahakista, well…….sorry…you can’t come up to us until your time is up. You see mom” he explained “Between life and death God keeps control of when you are born and when you will die. All the time in between is yours so cheer yourself up. Mom,

Listen to the whisper of the moonlight on water

May your listening be attuned

To the deeper Silence

Where sound is honed

To bringing distance home.

If you listen again, mom, you will hear me in these waters (saying I love you) & Sanjay above will enfold you tenderly in his hug and the air blows on your cheeks. Hey Sanjay blow air fast, ruffle her hair till it spikes up like I spiked my hair, remember mom you hated it. Well see mom you look pretty with your hair spiked”.

Yes, I sigh

No one knows the wonder your children awaken in you. Your heart a perfect cradle to hold its presence inside & outside becoming one

As new waves of love kept surprising your soul.

Now you sit bereft, reliving this nightmare. No parent should ever see their only children die violently, bear their absence, always wondering why such souls were taken home so soon. Silent tears flow, your eyes clear and see how your eternal children have become unseen angels who parent your hearts & persuade the moon to send her gentle light on them.

Mom, close your eyes, gather all the kindling around your heart to create one spark. That is all you need to nourish the flames that will cleanse all fear from you. Your soul has a special destiny here, something beautiful is unfolding. Please mom, learn to see yourself with the same delight, pride and expectation with which God sees you every moment. When your time comes, we will be here to give you a wonderful welcome.

Though we need to weep your loss

You dwell in that safe place in our hearts

Where no harm storm night or pain can reach you.

Though we can‘t see you with outward eyes

we know our soul’s gaze is upon you

smiling back at us from within everything to which we bring our best refinement.

Let us not look for you only in memory

where we would grow lonely without you.

You would want us to find you in presence

Besides us when beauty brightens,

when kindness glows

and music echoes eternal tones,

when orchids brighten the earth,

Darkest winter turns to spring

May this dark grief flower with hope

in every heart that loves you

May you continue to inspire us.

We will pass each day generously

with courage & love

Until we see your beloved faces again.

In the land where there is no more separation

where all tears will be wiped from our mind

And where we will never lose you again. Thanks, till we meet again.



Speech by Padmini Turlapati delivered on 23 June, 2018 at Ahakista, Ireland Memorial site.

Dear friends,

I am home again to your everlasting genuine Irish hospitality, set free to be with Sanjay & Deepak. Sanjay diffuses into me as I hug the air that encircles me while Deepak bounces and keeps bouncing away in the waters. Stop a moment, Deepak, how can I hug you? I love you more than I can say. Time only knows the price we have to pay when we weep and stumble-time puts a comforting hand to ease the pangs away.

That last day at home Sanjay said ‘ ok mom now don’t fret, I have taken God’s blessing and put the passports and money carefully. I will e mail you from London enroute India and I will even look after that brat’. Deepak was kissing everything in the room goodbye the TV, the chairs inclusive.” What are you doing?” OK I will kiss you goodbye too and he landed two loud wet yakee kisses on my cheeks.” Get on with you” and he left.

The flowers that once bloomed forever died

I sent my soul through the invisible

Some letter of that after life to spell

And by and by my soul returned to me

And answered ‘ I myself am Heaven& Hell !’

Mom, I wish you find in yourself enough patience to endure and enough simplicity to have faith, that you may gain more& more confident in what is difficult and in your solitude among other people.

Amid this isle of wondrous beauty in Ireland

Crouching over the right side of this memorial a sorrowful mother proud, private yet bent seated on this ground

For 33 years she silently mourns her only two heirs

of all the earth her heart most full of sorrow

because most full of love

Yet a word , mother

for know you the ones you know are not in that grave the sons you love, the Lord is not dead he is risen again young and strong in another country even while you wept.

While you wept for was translated passed from the grave in the ocean

winds found the sea and sailed it

and now with rosy and new blood

moves today in a new country.

Pain can turn this hearts cradle

to stone and there is in each life

a time that cuts so deeply, that the

soul would unmesh and lose itself in its

wish – just a  glimpse of Sanjay and Deepak

that call like an icon.

Voices become echoes that struggle to return the pulse slows down to a thud.

I loved you both more than my life and brought this down on you by sending you on that fateful flight

now I sit over these pages

trying to, from quiet desperation, make a raft of word for you to hold to me—ask your forgiveness.

I seek help from the spirits of the ocean that your heads be anointed with dew

and break tranquillity into both of you

to keep before your closing eyes

 the times we were together lost in my motherly embrace and dads too

 the four of us lost in Eternity of bliss. Sons of my heart don’t let this pain seal the skin of stone about you—for one time—let pass and I will let you fill in the heart and soul as openly as air lets in the night.

 I/we have come on pilgrimage to Ahakista. This place, the landscape has a soul and a presence and is a living mode of silence as is always wrapped in seamless prayer. Nothing resembles God as much as silence. Amazing tenderness somehow reaches you at night when you get a chance to look at the sky and becomes aware of the infinite distances that are out there and the light that is reaching you now is coming from the stars that have gone out of existence for thousands of years.

When you love someone you create a unique and particular kind of special place that you share with no one else and when that is lost in death absence haunts your heart and makes your belonging sore and painful. The absence of their lives, the absence of their voices, faces and presence becomes something that begins to grow beside you like a tree.

There is still within you some kind of innocence that is either unable or unwilling to accept that person has finally gone forever. Everyone that leaves your life, leaves a subtle trail of connection with you, and when you think of them & miss them& desire them your heart journeys out again along that trial towards them in the elsewhere where they may now find themselves .

Sensing each other strangely close where few reach

suddenly your voice

calling out my name

I call your name

the echoes for us

Lo the heart of the mountains

when the silence closes

you say ‘ Now that they have called our name back

the mountains can never forget us

May you realise that you have a special destiny here

that behind the façade of your life

there is something & beautiful & eternal happening

May you learn to see your self

with the same delight

pride and expectation

with which God sees you in every moment.

In 1984 I had to go to St Johns, Newfoundland to do my residency without which my Indian degrees were of no use. I had to leave my 13 and 10 year olds with their father in Toronto. In the afternoon Sanjay would warm their lunch. One day Deepak had a roti and wanted another one, give that to me he insisted and Sanjay did & was to write in his journal for me to read ‘ he did not know that there were only two and that there was no roti for me’ how I have cried since( there is bread, fruits, lots of things to eat – but this child went hungry!)

I would phone to talk to children in the afternoon. Deepak will chat and chat away. Sanjay wouldn’t he would say daddy said he could afford to phone only on weekends—but Sanjay I am phoning you – deaf ears! What is it with men! I used to wait on tenterhooks to talk to Sanjay on weekends, don’t you want to talk to me, oh yes he said so when I think of you I put my head on a pillow on the floor, fold my knees & lift my feet on the sofa then put on the music and listen and as you taught me I lose myself in its rhythm I find you there. I sent aeroplane ticket to Deepak to visit me for a week ( I couldn’t afford two) He came and daily after work I would take a bus and take him to downtown. Surprise, surprise he would refuse all his favourites—so well when he returned to Toronto he said Ma I refused all those because Sanjay said you are going to Newfoundland and you will spend all mummy’s money and then we will have none for a house. Logic of children! Idea of pocket money struck me and I used to send five dollars to Deepak and ten dollars to Sanjay to buy whatever they want. Deepak was always describing a chocolate donut so I thought he will buy one. I asked him if he had. He said “ oh no not with my money—it’s the parents job to provide food for the child so dad will have to buy it for me.” Babu got furious ‘ what do you think I don’t buy for this brat! ‘ men oh men.

Deepak acted in ‘Owl’ TV shows. When he passed away in his bank account and under his bed he had 1000 dollars saved. He used to also sell newspapers but I was scared to let a 10 year old going alone to all apartments serving papers at the doorstep. So I enlisted Sanjay’s help to accompany Deepak. Sanjay would collect the newspapers bundle putting all of them in the cart, pull the cart for Deepak while Deepak would take the paper Sanjay offered and give it to the home. When the pay check came I told Deepak to share it with Sanjay. Deepak declined saying ‘ mom don’t you know you shouldn’t share your wife or your money’?

When he died, a ninety year old woman from the other apartment building called to say she was sorry who would do for her now. He always gave her newspaper with a smile. He would sometime ride to her apartment on his cycle to just make sure you are alive, do you need anything and he would fetch her milk etc she needed.

I had gone to Toronto in 1985 to put them on the plane. The school was closing for the summer but had a concert on that day. Deepak was playing trumpet with the song Bolero and kept pushing his friend off the side so I could see Deepak better. He acted impromptu the lead role in a play when the lead fellow fell sick. He did such a grand job that he received accolades after accolades. He was to tell me I am going to be an actor. My teacher said. I am a natural actor. He went travelling two days later-----

Thank you all.





Dear Excellencies, dignitories and friends,

Narayana Turlapati and I lost our two sons 14 year old Sanjay ( knowledge) and 11 year old Deepak ( Light). So, on the 32nd anniversary of senseless darkness, we have come seeking oblivion. We have been blessed by the Irish weather. We have been graced by the presence of brother Vijay and his wife Beena, Kalsi family, Gary & Ruth from Canada, Mark & Julia from UK, Brenda from Dublin Mary Hegarty,James and Geraldine Hegarty ,Angela, Agnes & Joe Hegarty, Brigette and Babu Pulle, my grandson all of his 78 years and all of you that have come here today. Missed are Murthy, Murphy and Nouala. Hope they get well soon. At times when our light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another, each of us think with gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. Every act of kindness creates a ripple with no logical end. We meet each other with smiles – smiles of love to complete the circle of friends and all become anamcara. We count our blessings.

Enveloped by a gusty wind, doused by misty rain, we were welcomed  (31 years now) by Agnes at our cottage. She said “ May all the weight of the world fall from your shoulders, may your heart be tranquil here. Blessed by peace at Ahakista in this safe place full of love”. We are home.

Like the restless tide we come in and chip from shore of your love-fulfilled-we recede and return again and again and yet again.

Look at the garden on how it has grown and bloomed. 29 years ago I planted pink Azelias on the right hand side of this wall where my children’s names are and another one 24 years ago at the entrance on the right and they blossom pink WELCOME with careless abandon and solid impunity. We planted a few flowers, thanks to you all for the rest. Now it has its own identity. This sacred land surrounded by the silent mountains and chirpy blue water shares with us Irish mysticism, spirituality, spontaneity, generosity and hospitality. One drop of nectar imbibed here lifts me up, wherein, that moment I can glimpse at Sanjay and Deepak as they call Ma – that’s enough eternity for me.

Daily in Toronto, before I sleep I look at your photos and say, “forgive me” for there is no closure. Justice has not been served and will never be. Your deaths were in vain. Only I am responsible for the decision that took you to that fatal plane.

Daily in Ahakista, before I sleep, I look at your photos and say “ thank you” sprung from everlasting gratitude for enabling us our pilgrimage to seek you in this paradise. As I stand here and see the garden, the wall, names, pictures on one side and the mountains & ocean on the other side, the beauty humbles me to tears. O cry of love let the flowing tear water find its way into the water below and thence to ocean rhythm until it becomes a crest of joyous wave.

If I was sleeping, Deepak would come lift one of my eyelids up and drop it and say “Oops!!! I was just checking to see if you were asleep” and would sit and talk – my sleep erased. That night (before the journey day) I sensed his coming and pretended to sleep. He came – and instead – he patted my head gently and tiptoed away. How I wish I had reached out and hugged him tenderly. So many things unsaid and undone weave inside a web of maternal emptiness. Over the years, faces fade a little, voices whisper silently, memories gather holes and a fear arises deep within if in a few years of insidious seeping, creeping, setting of amnestic dementia (will I forget them now? how can I live?)- so if in the years to come you see me around, hold my hand and bring me to this sacred place – Sanjay from the sky and Deepak from the water will use Irish magic and mend their Ma back whole again.

As I grow older and have retired, I have more time to mull, ponder and wonder. My sensitivity increases. In me, I find a tenderness anew; I feel a surge of love deep within me, waiting to break the bonds of tradition and inhibitions, wanting to be released to the passion that can heal all hurts and the dignity to be free. Stranded between time gone back and time emerging, confused of where I am instead of looking out from here & now. My brothers, Ashok & Vijay, say “Always procrastinating. When will you live in here and now. Stop dreaming!!!”

Deepak says, gather yourself and decide carefully how to lead life and pave way for a silent exit. But my son, all I want is your hand holding mine walking on this green grass come:

He will not come and still I wait

He whistles at another gate

Where angels listen. Ah I know

He will not come, yet, if I go

How shall I know he did not pass

Barefooted on the grass

The moon leans on the silvery horn

Above the silhouette of the moon

How is the morn so gay and fair

Without his whistling in the air

The world is calling. I must go.

How shall I know he did not pass

Barefooted in the grass.


Ah mother dear, might I only place

my head on thy breast, a moment to rest

while thy hand on my tearful cheeks were prest

on and on, a moving bridge they made

across the moon stream from shade to shade,

young and old, women and men,

many long forgot, but remember’d them


Good bye !!!! Blessings around you till we meet again.


Padmini’s speech at the 31 st anniversary on 23 June 2016

Dear friends,

I retired on Friday, caught flight on Saturday and spent 21 hours over a flight that takes seven hours. Though the journey was difficult and slow we set foot in Cork. From the customs officer ‘is it that time of the year? ‘— to rental car John who kept a vehicle ready for us— to the young lady at ‘Centra’ who was closing shop but one look at us she decided to bake a pizza for us. I felt a singin’ all the way to Ahakista. The magnificent mountains, the blooming azaleas at the entrance of the monument, the twinkling stars in the serene water— all heightened the sense of homecoming. Agnes had left tea, scones and Quiche for us at the cottage which was warm, delightful, welcoming us the 30 th year of our stay. ‘Blessed by the loving kindness of others’ we fell into a deep slumber knowing that we were home.

Sunrise through the windows woke me up as it flowed through my senses and transformed me with zest, gracefulness and gratefulness. I feel safe, protected, watched over and cared for.

As I meet our friends Agnes and Joe, Angela, Ruth, Bonnie and Patrick, Mary and James, Geraldine, Brenda and Breda, Nuala, Brigitte, magnificient Michael, Timmy, Frank, Kevin and Mary Joe, Siva and Florence and Babu from Newcastle I count them as blessings in our lives and treasure their spontaneity, love and warmth. Since I saw them last, some of them have had setbacks in their health.  I pray for their speedy recovery.

We are reminded that life is so fragile- that in a split of a second it can be bared. The devastation in faraway places, faces expressing shock and numbness unprepared for the events, swells of anger, guns fired, bodies maimed, lost wars, suicide, oppression, refugee camps— portrayed so realistically again by the media— that we cannot escape from their suffering that echoes and re-echoes exposing the gaps in our humaneness. The degree of compassion, humanity, empathy and the entailing commitment and courage needed overwhelms me to tears. I come on a pilgrimage, following our destiny to this unique landscape which has dignity, stillness and silence and an unquivering poise.

I come before you seeking peace I ask to be filled with your presence your love, your tranquillity.  I come on a pilgrimage— seeking Sanjay (vision) and Deepak (light) in every nook and corner of the four elements here— in the smile of a flower, song of a bird, dance of the waves, music in the air that Sanjay embraces me and the hearty laughter of Deepak in the sea. Here Deepak speaks to me. The quest will never cease. For when I think I have found you, you have taken quiet retreat.  Your love was like the dawn brightening our lives. The sound of your voice was music in our ears.

As I grow old and memories and thoughts seem fragile
flickers of guilt rekindle regret
for all that was left unsaid and undone.

There are days when I wake up happy
again inside the fullness of the day
days when I have my heart back
and am able to function well.
Until, in the middle of work or encounter
suddenly with no warning
I am ambushed by grief.

My tears harbour no revenge but ask why? why?
Had I only not put you both on the plane
for letting go is signed in tears mom.
Let the silent tears flow mom
and when your eyes are clear
perhaps you will glimpse
How your eternal child
has become an unseen angel
who paints your heart
and persuades the moon
to shine softly on you
God gives patience, Love gives strength
Love strong as Death, shall conquer Death
Through struggle made more glorious
This mother stills her sobbing breath
Renouncing yet victorious.

Arms, empty of her children, she lifts
with spirit unbereaven
God will not all take back His gifts
My child’s mine in heaven
Still maternal rights serene
not given to another
The crystal bars shine faint between
The souls of child and mother
Meanwhile the mother cries content
Our love was well divided
Its sweetness following where they went
Its anguish stayed where I did.
Sun sets.

I light a lamp here and a new glow Streams across

Hour of peace and silence.

I count my blessings: recognizing enough is enough giving thanks for everything and everyone.

Padmini's speech at Ahakista, Ireland on 23 June 2015
Dear friends,
We have gathered today on the 30th anniversary.
It is hard to believe – that both you and we have borne the yoke- when in a lightning flash our lives were shattered for ever---- and your lives too were touched deeply as you reached out in love and true friendship.
It is hard to believe - that over the last 30 years, year after year, whether we be 5 or 50 or 100 representatives of the families, you have made time and effort to come out and share our grief and healing. Your spontaneous generosity sustained us.
It is hard to believe- that you chose this most beautiful place in the world(just 80 miles away from the crash) that you procured, created and maintained this memorial for us and history.
I came here full of pettiness, burdened with thoughts of the world’s turbulence, troubled by ongoing senseless acts of violence in the world over, saddened by lack of mercy in human hearts, lack of pity in faces, lack of peace and worst of all imprisoned by a sense of helplessness. Once here, I am in the presence of your Celtic wisdom. The mountains are huge and still.The waters carry tears of earth’s joy and sadness---the trees, plants, gardens- this whole landscape speaks to me- with a soul in silent seamingless prayer. As I walk in wonder, every stone and everything is unique and different. I realise what a privilege it is to actually be here.
When things go against you, and the rhythm of life takes you to awkward and lonely places, you can still maintain a stillness, which is your soul. I stand back here and let the mystery- envelop, extend and deepen in me. This is a safe place full of understanding and acceptance, where you can be as you are without the need of any mask, of pretence or image. The very earth we are on is linked to the heaven above. I hear Deepak’s voice from the waters and his voice calms my fears.’ O mom!’ he sighs---his hearty laugh-when I told him of how in his concert( a day before he left) as he played his trumpet, he pushed his friend aside so that his mom could see him better. His laugh banished my tears. ‘Your destination is not yet clear, trust the promise of this rhythm.’
I breathed in and I breathed out. I was alive. To be truly alive means to fully engage in the moment. This moment here, and now, with an open heart filled with compassion and love. We are all human kind, we are sent into each other’s lives to help one another. The past is gone, we have no future, but we have today and the peace I feel when I realize this is a gift .
When people come together an ancient circle closes. They do not come with empty hands but with gifts that awaken a new dimension of healing within love and shine the light of one’s soul on another.
Mareth, my anam cara, taught me so. 
This year, we have more families. We lost Sanjay and Deepak. Ashok and Neena their nephews. Murthy lost his wife Lakshmi and daughter Veena. Prema and Sumant their cousin and their aunt. Kriselle lost her mother when she was only one year old. Her mother was an air hostess. Saroj lost her father and Sunil lost his father-in-law. Hari Shukla, lost his friend Mehta and his entire family. Bruce and Joan Mann from Canada lost their neighbours, the entire Jain family.
With us this year also are our best friends, Sarla and Kris Ramachandra, Shashi from USA, Nisha and`Subhash from UK, Lynne from Canada. Also this year with us, are Gary Bass our dear friend from RCMP and his wife Ruth, precious Mark with his son from UK . Also with us are Ashok and Nina. Ashok was born on Sanjay’s birthday and got married on the same day. They were their most beloved uncle and aunt. Nina is responsible for the concept of these pictures and the decorations. 
We wouldn’t be here standing today without Michael Murphy, Nuala O Donovan, and Agnes Hegarty. John Carey, Breda, Margo, Mary and James Hegartys, Bonnie and Pat, Roshin, Frank O Donovan, Ruth O’Brein for their affection. I miss Mareth, my anam cara but I have Angela. These are, and you all are my blessings, God send. 
I could with stand--- the day when our world collapsed. I could withstand---- the next day the media asking if we would retaliate. I could withstand---- when the Indian Canadians were unacknowledged, forgotten by our government. I could withstand----- when, year after year requests by the families for a public enquiry were turned down. It took 25 years for the Canadian Government to accept it as a Canadian tragedy.
Justice Major’s report was scathing and pointed out the neglect endured at every level, that could have prevented the tragedy. He also was critical of the callous treatment of families. Our Prime Minister apologised and though all the recommendations were not implemented—at the request of families, four similar sundials were built by our government. The families are holding services there now in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa.Today has been declared an antiterrorist day. The government has setup a Kanishka Research unit to ensure that a tragedy like this will never happen again. Amen.
I cannot accept that the wicked, powerful persons, who the RCMP and journalists etc say that they know who they are, have been scot free unscathed and untouched. The man who made the bomb will be freed having served 15 years now. To this date witnesses were either murdered or manipulated. And no one from the community has ever come forward to right the wrong or claim responsibility.
I cannot accept that my children and all the innocent victims deaths are in vain, as justice has not been served yet. To add insult to the injury, to justify this heinous crime as payback for some grievances in India is very evil.
I cannot accept that the Indian Government, who were made aware of the threat by the intelligence, ignored it, and allowed the Air India to fly from Toronto for the first time.
I cannot accept that Air India did not listen to the threat, and have neglected their crews families, and have not sent any representative for their own crew in 28 years.
I cannot accept that to date, the Indian Government has not acknowledged or admitted to their responsibility . The victims families in India, do not have a place to pay respects to, in India.
I have always seen Deepak in these waters, and felt Sanjay’s spirit in the air. Here is everything that I ever lost. I ask myself, would it wash up if I wait long enough. In three days time, I will come here and wonder--- may be an Irish miracle-- will happen and the tiny figure of Deepak would appear in the horizon across this bay and come to me. The wishful fantasy never gets beyond that. I won’t let it. Even though the tears will roll down my face, I will not sob out of control. I will wait a bit---- a bit longer----- a little bit more----- then turn back to the car, to be driven off to the airport, back to Canada.
Until next year then, I love you all.
Padmini Turlapati
BBC interview
Padmini's speech at Ahakista, Ireland on 23 June 2014
Dear friends,
29 years ago , our journey began with destruction, catapulted us here and begat a destiny that irrevocably entwined our paths and drew us all together. I am completely humbled by the number of incredible people who played a vital role in helping us grow. The deep innate sense of compassion, hospitality and generosity of the Irish for us all is a testament of their humanness and friendship. The creation of this pilgrimage place that I/we can come back to year after year, that permits me to become a mother once again, that allows me to give thanks in prayer is sheer magic.
Mareth my anam cara, Angela, Michael, Agnes, Nualla for your sustenance: Mary, Ruth, Frank and Bonnie for your kindness: children for your inspiration--- how can I ever thank you? Our families Babu Pulle, my classmates and BFF( best friends forever) Nisha and Shashi for your unconditional love and devotion how can I ever thank you? To Gary Bass, Mark, Brenda for your unending friendship how can I ever, ever thank you?
This year it is only Babu my husband and me representing all the families supported by Babu Pulle, Gary, Mark, Nisha and her husband Subhash who have graced the occasion. Murthy who is always here is due for a surgery, Ron Kalsi (who was here till 2008) had cardiac bypass surgery for heart attack sustained when his wife Harbhajan (Jean) died in May could not come here. Jean was always smiling. We families lost Mohan Patel to cancer and a few others send their regrets. But their families and many others will come next year for the 30th anniversary in June 2015.
I am deeply saddened at the loss of Margaret with her smile and the mischievous glint in her eyes: at the loss of Anne O’ Keeffe and her simplicity: at the loss of Breandan O’ Tighearnaigh for his continuous presence and support to all families:at the loss of Harbhajan (Jean) and her fortitude. Joyful memories are all that we have left and they do not die. 
Unable are the loved to die for love is immortality.
Nothing can fill the gap
when we are away from those we love
Having the gap unfulfilled preserves
the bond between us and 
God keeps it empty so that our communication
with another may be kept alive even
at the cost of pain
I keenly anticipated our return. When I heard of the storm that hit west coast of Ireland including Ahakista I was scared…what if…?
Enroute, calmed by the evergreen landscape, warmed by the sun, I learnt a lesson of humility when I saw the wild flowers swaying, wild flowers caressing the earth with blessing. Pulling them up they grow again in unexpected places, on pavements, rooftops, tree stumps- they find a way through. Trampling them down under foot, they find away to blossom and bloom.
At Ahakista, I learnt that the adjacent area, fields and road were all destroyed by the storm. It was a miracle that this memorial site stayed on so said the locals. The garden place looked a little subdued and bare with the burning of the two big trees (planted years ago by my brother and sister) and of shrubs that have since been cleared. I tentatively stepped through the gate and- lo- the Azelias blazed welcome. The monument and plaques were there. Look, look- oh look at my azelias planted 27 years ago (to the astonishment of the horticulturist who said they couldn’t live so into the sea). They have lived through the storm, dried and shrivelled and must have been in pain. Yet in defiance they have bloomed. They knew I was coming with my heart and soul in my eyes. If this is not a miracle and if the pathos does not strike a chord of tenderness deep within I do not know what else will bring tears. I count my blessings and offer thanks.
The sun flows through my senses and transforms me with zest, gracefulness and gratefulness. I feel safe, protected and cared for. I turn to the sea.
The tide was in—waves were coming in soberly and solemnly. I did not recognize Deepak coming to greet me so
“ Have you forgotten me? I asked
“How can I “said he… 
Listen let your heart guide you
It whispers softly, so listen clearly.
The wise composer of the waves allows music to crescendo to reach a climax and then 
a rest,
Listening in silence… I hear music The shape of your soul is unique You have a special destiny here behind the façade of your life there is something beautiful, good, eternal happening.
By facing my tears, expressing my feelings, releasing my energy, feeling my enthusiasm—feeling --just feeling---joy.
The sun set, evening descended and darkness fell. I lit a lamp for Deepak and Sanjay, Setting aside the day. I enter the serenity of the evening.
As I leave for the night-- I stop and look back. I give thanks and ask for forgiveness. I ask for forgiveness and give thanks.
    To see the world in a grain of sand 
    And heaven in a wild flower
    Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
    And eternity in an hour
Have the courage to trust love one more time and mom (Deepak says) always just----just one more time.
Thank you all

Speech by Dr. Padmini Turlapati at Ahakista, Ireland on 23rd June 2013

Dear Friends,

Another year older and deeper in debt in gratitude to you all for coming to share of yourselves even on a Sunday morning as we continue to come representing all families.

I married when I was 28years old in another lifetime, and am today counting the 28th year of the death of my children and others. This year Sirish (two months younger than Deepak to the date, their first cousin) has come with his wife Vera for the first time. I remember to this day when Sirish an eleven year old then, came to me 28 years ago and said “You call me Deepak. I will be Deepak from now on”. I said “No Sirish you remain Sirish and I will see my Deepak in you”.

During my visit to India I went to Sanjay’s tombstone. A beautiful garden has been tended in that small area and his grandparents rest there with him. When I saw my inscription condemning the death of them due to Indian negligence of human life totally erased - maybe it had to be politically correct or whatever correct ----I know how much it hurt. Only this, and none of this can I say because feelings are like the sky seeing nothing in it to see. 

Once the plane touched down, tears welled in my eyes as I saw the Irish soil. All my misgivings and fears evaporated and instead there was a feeling of homecoming of bliss and joy. My world righted itself in a second. I was free to be a mother again and see Deepak.

Sometimes even now, I dream that Deepak was saved and one day he will come walking with you all and say “Hi! Mom. My eyes continue for just that moment, for just that one glimpse. Hope lingers, while reality dawns.

Looking at this garden, blooming with flowers and beautiful scenery a peace steals upon me. The first day was raining, next day dull and windy, third to fifth were sunny, yesterday rainy and today we have had rainbow, sun, rain and wind - you see testy pesty Deepak had come to say “Hi!” after all. That is all I need, a glimpse of eternity.

Sitting here, I look back and wonder how far have I come and grown. Deepak seemed to say “Blessed be the longing that brings you here and quickens your soul with wonder.” As I look on tenderly and silently, motherly tears threaten to flow. I still ask why they had to die. Let go— letting go - is signed in the tears that I weep but no hurt could steal the love my heart keeps.

Be like the silent river mom
Silent in the night
do not be afraid of the dark
If there are stars reflect them back
if there are clouds in the sky
Remember clouds, like the river, are only water
So gladly reflect them too.
Deepak, the flow of your voice 
loosens all pettiness from my skin, 
soft and warm you encircle me 
and whisper into my ear over and over again. 
I am Love and so are you.
As you are I used to be 
As I am you will be. 
My son, a spirit in the wind eases with his talk the solitude in my heart.

Mareth, my anam cara, with her love, smile, compassion witnessed every step I took and faltered. From sadness, to acceptance, to surrender. Her last words to me as she lay dying my hand in hers “I can see you have grown and you will be at peace when you round the corners and dare to dream again”.  Over the years she introduced me to so many wonderful friends.


Michael Murphy is our pillar of strength and rock. Margaret, Agnes, Nuoala are our anchors. Mark Stagg, Gary Bass , Brenda are our devoted  friends. Children and students our inspiration. Starting from the immigration officer “you are back, I remember”, car rental guy “welcome back”, super value “glad to see you again”,  at the library, to Breda who volunteers to make wreaths from her home even though she has now a fulltime job, to Raina at the Deelish Garden centre who gives me a free plant, to Ruth who gives me a hug of welcome,  to Angela , to Mary and James Hegarty , Pat and Bonnie, Agnes and Joe, Michael and Margaret who welcome us to their homes, and to all the rest of you - Love and giving seems to come naturally to and from all of you.

I believe nobody comes here by accident, each of us have been sent for a special destiny. Receiving so much love humbles and flattens my ego. I had fought with God and was angry with Him. I stopped praying while my husband became more religious, disciplined and charitable. I would say “well, he is praying to you and some of that is on my behalf too”. I have since learnt that God has no why but is the why of everything and is everything ‘to be’. Can you all see how he has gently, sternly, patiently stayed with me and sent you all - in my eyes, in the likeness of Him.

Thanks for the opportunity to experience and to continue to learn from Irish Celtic and Christian wisdom, culture and music. I realise now everyone has a temple within and God wants the tiny light to grow bigger and bigger till it comes out and connects with another’s energy. Negative thoughts and attitude makes the light grow smaller but every time we think positive and lovingly reach out it grows larger.

So much turmoil is happening in this world and none of us can remain unaffected and undisturbed but we can become frozen. Much can be done and even though I hear cries for help- I pause- waiting hurts, forgetting hurts, not reaching out hurts but not knowing what decision to make is the worst suffering. Man needs to choose not just to accept his destiny. To that end I admire Ashok, the Babus and Murthy for their courage to act.

When my boat Lord is storm tossed and sinking
When fear in my heart takes control
Say’ be not afraid’ to my spirit
And your answer will calm my soul
When I flounder in deep waters
When the stresses of life take their toll
A sudden deep hush steal upon me 
Your gentleness calms my soul
When my life seems full of confusion
And I have lost sight of the goal
As I stumble about in darkness
May your gentle light calm the soul
I often live life on the surface
Sometimes I am playing a role
Help me cherish my own inner beauty
May your tender love calm my soul
When I struggle with sickness and sorrow
And eagerly long to be whole
I call your name to bring healing
And the touch of your hand calms the soul

Let us all think of Anne O’Keefe who I understand is very ill. When all of us pray for her recovery and also for all those who are suffering from loss and sickness at this pilgrimage spot (there was a monastery here before they moved away) this sacred ground, our prayers will be answered.


Speech by Dr. Padmini Turlapati at AhakistaIreland on 23rd June 2011

Dear friends,

Once again we all meet in loving friendship in an act of recognition and belonging cutting across all conventions and categories to pay homage to the innocent victims. We stand on this sacred site amidst trees and flowers to imbibe the blessings of elements the sea, sky, mountains, the air to devour with awe the glory and grandeur of their mystical sensibilities. No two days here are alike and this itself uplifts the spirits of this tired pilgrim. The Celtic world is a world of poetry before philosophy, mysticism before theology and magic before logic. Time here is meaningless love is forever and dancing may never end. When we are here we believe and experience.

First things first – nothing much has changed back home in Canada same old & same old. Justice Major Commission report was out and our PM Mr Harper made an apology to families last year and this year Deputy Minister for Public Safety Mr Baker made an apology. Oh yes it was a Canadian tragedy but nothing much has been implemented. Our airports remain vincible and no compensation has been forthcoming to families. Whereas in USA the victims’ families of 9/11 and Lockerbie air disaster were promptly compensated and have had closure with America’s war on architects of those responsible for the crimes. The Canadian government has been slow and inept. Reyat the man who made the bomb is the only person sentenced, the others are free. We remain dignified but concerned.

Last year my younger sister Nimi and this year my Anam Cara (soul friend) Mareth succumbed to cancer. Both of these women were exemplary in their vivacious zest of life and encompassing compassion. Their demise has been inconceivable and them irreplaceable.

                         If I am not looking at you

                         Forgive if I appear to be

                         Scanning the sky—you—I am speaking to

                         I’m trying to keep this simple

                         For the time left to me

                         I’m hoping, mainly, to stay present

                         And straight up despite

                         The wrong urge, that has taken hold

                         to say everything all at once,       

                         to everyone, which is, what I’d like

                         if only I could stay beyond this moment.


When I told all this to Deepak and said my life seems so irrelevant. I have no ambition, no energy left to service even in Sanjay Deepak Children Trust—to which their father and uncle are committed. I just go day by day, doing - - -

Deepak said---Pray for grace and remember this---“The next time life visits you with sorrow

This too will pass”.    

Deepak further quoted

“Like the waves make toward the pebbled shore

              so do our minutes hasten to their end

              each changing place with that which goes before

              in sequent toil all forwards do contend”

And Mom listen –

“Some nights stay up until dawn

  As the moon sometimes does for the sun

             Be a full bucket pulled up the dark way

  of a well then lifted out into light

  Something opens our wings, something makes boredom & hurt disappears

              some one fills the cup in front of us

  we taste only sacredness”

So mom, you are relevant and you just have a little more growing and learning to do.

Thank you all for making it possible for me to come to this Irish shore and talk to Deepak. As I have said before, in this magical place it is exciting to believe, that at any moment in time, anywhere, something amazingly wonderful, entirely unexpected and undeserved may possibly happen. It is so much easier to live by hope than by cynicism and despair. Once we choose to believe in a force of life, power and miracles then we actually are capable of experiencing that energy flow through us

                                                   T’is a gift to be simple

                                                   T’is a gift to be free

                                                   T’is a gift to come down

                                                   where we ought to be

                                                   And when we find ourselves

                                                   in the place that is right

                                                   T’wil be in the valley

                                                   of love and delight

Yes, I feel invigorated already and blessed with the support of Babu T, my husband, Babu P, my grandson of 70 years, Shashi, my best friend of 53 years, for your devotion. Also Mark from UK (who rescued my son Sanjay from the ocean so he came to me) and Gary from Canada for your dedication and commitment.

I couldn’t do without all of you here in Ireland especially Michael Murphy, Agnes Hegarty, Nuola O’ Donovan Angela Muckley, Brenda and Brita. I also mention Anne O’Keefe, Bonnie, Roshin, Mary Hegarty, Ruth O’Brien, Theresa White and the library personnel.

Thank you all, thank you, thank you, thank you for the then and now.

God Bless. 


Speech by Dr. Padmini Turlapati at AhakistaIreland on 23rd June 2010


25 years have gone by and once again a few of us are back on your soil representing all the victims families to pay homage to our loved ones and once again to thank you all.
When my husband and I put our two sons on the plane 25 years ago
We had no inkling
That we would witness horrible deaths
That this would become Canada’s worst mass murder in Canadian history.

That we would learn of a deranged political fervour by sikh extremists in Canada who planned revenge against Indian state by killing women, children and families on board air India flight 182 a civilian aircraft. This could hardly be a justifiable revenge but rather was a blatant criminal activity.

That we should be horrified, a shame really that neither Canada nor India had taken any preventive action when flight 182 was suspected to be at high risk of being bombed.

Having done that and seen the emotional, mental trauma caused to the families of victims there is no remorse or apology for the families from the security agencies, governments in Canada and India.

Numbed and heartbroken, the families requested for a judicial public enquiry right at the beginning. The families were told that to do so would jeopardise the criminal trial. For the next 10 years we were not allowed to meet ministers (the first time would be in 1995) and we were deemed trouble makers.

Having spent so much of taxpayer’s money on the trial, and to feed and support suspects and their children who were paid to defend them the suspects were acquitted for lack of evidence. Since then Parmar tapes were destroyed and witnesses were murdered or intimidated. The murder of Mr Hayer who was gunned down before he could testify, still remains cold and unsolved. The witness protection still is necessary for one who is still incognito.

On the 20th anniversary in 2005 I asked if everyone had absolved themselves of responsibility and if so were we only to blame for putting our loved ones on the plane.

In response the then Canadian Prime Minister Mr Paul Martin said it was a Canadian tragedy. June 23rd was declared an Anti-terrorist day in Canada and over next 5 years four monuments like this one built in different cities in Canada so that families could go there. I cried when I heard the site was vandalised in Toronto a few months ago but since has been repaired.

A year later Mr Harper, our prime minister appointed John Major, former Justice Supreme Court of Canada, to hold a public enquiry.

Through all this harrowing period the families had to assimilate that every step of the way mistakes were committed they wondered if at the end of it all we would recover from this one more twist in this never ending saga. Would this too make mockery of our lives?

I could not look my children’s photos in the eye it was a death knell for me to say you died a hideous horrible death in vain. No one is responsible justice has not been done. I failed you in life as well as in death. Forgive me.

On June 17, 2010 the long awaited report by Honourable former Supreme Court Justice John Major was released. He had soldiered through 200 witnesses, 17,000 classified documents and 4 years of hard work. He released 5 volumes six days ago.

In his report he stressed (1) this is a Canadian atrocity, (2) For too long the greatest loss of Canadian lives at the hand of terrorists living in Canada has somehow been relegated outside the Canadian consciousness.

The report says cascading series of errors by the Canadian government, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service failed to prevent the disaster. They were in possession of significant pieces of information that had they cooperated and analysed competently could have prevented the bombing of Flight 182. This Failure and the inexcusable blunders led up to the bombing and resulted in the worst mass murder in Canadian history.

He acknowledged that the families have often been treated as adversaries as if they had somehow brought about this calamity upon themselves. The inherent injustice of what has transpired in terms of treatment of the families to date at the hands of previous governments was set out. He went on to say the time to right this historical wrong is now. The government needs to take responsibility to avoid further failures to prevent or return to a culture of complacency. He called upon as a legacy to the victims and their families a creation of a rigorous aviation security system.

Prime Minister Mr. Harper said the report was damning indictment of many things that occurred before and after tragedy and that the government will respond positively to Justice Major’s recommendation for an apology and compensation for the families.

There can be no doubt that it is impossible for any legal system to ever adequately compensate a person for the loss of a child, a life partner or family or community. Because there are some things that money can not buy that it can never make good the emotional and social loss. The law on compensation the world over has developed the universal maxim—the principle of restitution in integrum. We will wait and see what unfolds again.

Yet in Ireland on this shore there is this magical place which has given me(us) sanctuary, unconditional love, security and refuge. It gave me hope back and taught me compassion and courage. The people here have walked with me every step of the way these 25 years caring and nurturing us with support and solidarity. Regardless of country, colour, race, creed, religion or monetary status we have been given back our dignity and our status that we do matter. The assurance that this spot will remain sacred, will be preserved and accessible to us is reaffirming our faith. You are all witnesses to this soul uplifting journey that has kept me alive and today I can come, sit and talk with Deepak with joy in my heart and no fear. No one here ever asks why do you come here- its 25 years- its time to let go, a closure whatever that means. You never do because you know. No one tells me to forget that I had children or consider myself barren. You permit me to be the mother on this day and babble away the hunger in my heart. You listen, you have understood the desolation of a mother’s heart and that as long as she is alive she longs to sit at this spot , look into the ocean and commune with Deepak. You will never say that all we ever wanted was money but see us tall, mature and dignified. God is the atmosphere where our essence clarifies when all falsity and pretensions vanish. No words are needed, no actions are required for every thing is here.

Here I found anam caras and peace in celtic tradition.
Choosing to trust the future no matter
How uncertain it may be
None of these choices will grant happiness
But each one can help make life radiant with meaning
In darkness and unknowing to find meaning
May all that is unforgiven in you be released
May your fears yield their deepest tranquilities
May all that is unlived in you bloom into a future graced with love
May I live this day
Compassionate of heart, gentle in word
Graciousness in awareness
Courageous in thought
Generous in love.

Thank you all.

Padmini Turlapati

Speech by Dr. Padmini Turlapati at AhakistaIreland on 23rd June 2008

Twenty three years on 23rd June, 2008

must mean something more than counting years go by

must mean something more than a day older& deeper in debt

must mean something more than self destructive anger that the culprits are free and got away with mass murder

must mean something more than an impotent, helpless, hopeless pessimism that grew as the inquiry revealed that every step of the way blunders were committed with tragic consequences. The ensuing unmitigated guilt, sorrow and despair as “if only’s” are held at bay pending the release of the official report. So we hold it within yet.

must mean something more than pacifying families by building monuments

must mean something more than Canada observing anti-terrorist day

must mean something more than our gratitude to Kim Bolan, Terry Milewski who have pursued the truth despite threats to their person

must mean something more than acknowledging the sacrifice made by the lady witness under witness protection.

Yes it does and speaking for myself I am thirsting for a meaning, longing to discover the niche and purpose in my life & be guided.

I was sad to hear of Michael Murphy’s illness and a little later was torn apart by my younger sister’s cancer. She has been my inspiration and courageously fighting for her life. How I would do & give & risk anything to make her well and trade places with her. I needed to reach out to God. So I came here—in search of Deepak & Celtic Wisdom.

It was raining but it stopped briefly as we neared the monument on the first day we arrived. Azelias bloomed welcome. Deepak was calm as I looked to the sea and said Hi for now. The warm embrace from Noula, then Agnes, the kind dinner left there on our arrival by Mareth brought tears to my eyes. The arrival of Nisha & Subhash and subsequent meeting with Angela, Bonnie & Pat & Anne O’ Keefe, meeting Michael & Margaret on the 20th, his bear hug and Margaret’s captivating smile, and still later Brenda’s arrival completed the circle of blessing. Last year Deepak had put a little mantle of Irish magic which I had lost in Canada & I was sad. So he sent mixed weather next few days and sang a quote from Yeats.

When you are sad

The mother of stars weeps too and all her starlight is with sorrow mad

And tears of fire fall gently on the dew

When you are sad

The mother of wind mourns too

And her old wind that no mirth ever had wanders & wails before my heart most true

When you are sad

The mother of wave sighs too

And her dim wave bids man be no more glad

And then the whole world’s trouble weeps with you.

As he sang I felt as if he and all my friends were enfolding me with in the cocoon of Irish magic .

Today Sanjay from the sky, Deepak in the sea and all of you magical people in between graciously sanction me to be the mother once again. From this moment my step goes lighter, my heart bursts in pride, my head clears and I feel humbled by the love that transfigures, transforms and liberates me. My dignity and poise return.

This year today in Canada, in Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto families will be paying homage to their loved ones. Canada marks today as the anti-terrorist day, a recognition we fought hard to get. Thanks to Kim Bolan, Strula Gunnarson and David York who made a documentary on Flight 182 to educate the mainstream in Canada. But in India the families grieve alone as “they are forgotten” by their country.

So the Babus T&P , Murthy and I return year after year to represent all the victims families and make the pilgrimage here. As many of them have told me that the expenses are prohibitory and they will breathe life into the make shift arrangement back in Canada. Rama Bhardwaj who lost her son and subsequently her husband three years ago has made the courageous journey alone. She is fighting Leukamia.

I must repeat there is no end to the song or story. Celtic tradition recognizes the need to invoke the Blessing

On all suffering and pain

Bless life & thanks to God

Nothing is given for yourself

When you receive a blessing

You do it in the name of others

Through you they too will come

to share in the kindness of Providence

Open mouth and ears to Celtic tradition

Choosing faith in the light of death

Choosing hope in the light of birth

Choosing love & compassion in the light of suffering

Choosing hospitality & honour in the light of stories of our ancestors

how they make us feel connected to something larger than ourselves

Choosing to trust the future no matter how uncertain it may be

None of these choices will guarantee happiness but each one can help to make life

radiant with meaning in darkness and unknowing to find meaning.      Thanks. 

Speech by Dr. Padmini Turlapati at AhakistaIreland on 23rd June 2003

So many things have happened since I saw and spoke with you. You have all shared with me tears and cheers trials and tribulations over the years. And since it is with you're permission that I can come on my pilgrimage to become ' a mother ' for a day or a week of my stay here that I can speak to you from my heart.

My secretary called aside one day to inform me that someone from the media wanted to interview me to find out how I felt about the upcoming trial. I told her to decline the offer, sat down in my chair, closed my eyes took a few deep breathes and went back to work.

How could/ should I feel?

I went home, turned on the TV heard my husbands voice, saw my children's pictures on the TV, saw a replay of the plane leaving Canada, parts of the plane under water and my son’s body being carried away along with the announcement of the up coming trial. All this I took in again intersperses with commercials.

How could/should I feel!

One of them in prison for 10 years already for the death of the two Japanese baggage handlers had just pleaded for making the bomb made a great deal and was sentenced to 20 years for the bombing of our flight but per justice each year he serves counts for two. So he has already served 20 years and will soon be set free…. How could/should I feel?

The accident could have been prevented and the case wound up years ago say the papers, had the intelligence not destroyed the evidence. A public enquiry was never held.

How could/should I feel 18 years later, the two gentlemen who have master minded the events are on trial with the hiring of strongest of lawyers from millions of dollars collected by the community. Out investigators and prosecutors claim this to be the costliest affair in the history of Canada have to prove beyond doubt to a judge and a jury.

How could/should I feel I am going to the trail in September with my husband not because I chose to but is the least I can do. If I'm scared you're the only ones who will know. How could/should I feel when I see those men.

How could/should I feel when I look into eyes of their family wives and children. Will I see sadness, anger or fear? Are they also not victims of a destiny that has plagued them for 18 years?

How could/should I feel? We all have witnessed justice dealt with and closure of the Pan Am Air disaster, we have witnessed the wanton destruction that war brings when the mightiest of nations bombs Iraq and Afghanistan and the causalities of war mount, when the on going attacks and counter attacks between Palestinians and Israelies go on and on. I feel personally meshed up when I see the torment and anguish of those mothers and daughters and sisters and children whose lives like mine been ruined beyond recognition … how could/should I feel?

I just did/said nothing -- go about in animated suspense and I do not read the newspaper or watch TV no more.

When our private lives have become public with such historic histrionic murders there is only a beginning and no end in sight. We have no choice. I live in the moment cherishing everyone I come in contact with.

I came here again seeking solace and comfort in familiarity. The flowers bloom welcome and knowing Agnes, Mareth, Nuala, Murphy are just enough.

However, on the 19th June as I sat looking out into the water uncontrollably I began to sob and cry and feel ashamed of my tears flowing. I heard Deepak's voice. Mom, mom cry all you can - you're tears will form rivulets and seep down to me and knowing they come warm from your eyes and kissed by your lips I can fell them embrace me. I will send you the wind to caress you're cheeks and the sun to dry your tears. Like the show off he sometimes was the wind suddenly turns brisk and cool -- it ruffled my hair till it stood up I looked a spunk mom.  He then said that’s better.

Now mom, remember nothing else matters except that I'm in the water  waiting for you and you're on the shore forever searching. So if anyone asks you why/how you feel just smile and say nothing. I smiled broadly and burst with maternal pride you see my son had grown wise and was now 30 years old!  Thanks.


Peace be with you.




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Two very talented handsome boys will be missed forever. Now we pray for peace for their souls.

[By :Ravi/Shashi Sharma  ]

May they rest in peace and god bless them

[By :Krishna  Dave  ]

May they rest in peace and be remembered in our prayers

[By :Frank & Angela O'Donovan  ]

We and our children knew Sanjay and Deepak for several years while we were in Nigeria . Our children played with them during our visits or when they were visiting us. We and our children miss them very much. May their young souls rest in peace.

[By :Kris and Sarla Ramachandra  ]

From Kumar Lakshmi Vajjhala...
Son of Rama Rao Vajjhala (Who worked for Telco at Kano from 1979 - 1984)

Childhood friends......
I remember when i came to Kaduna along with my parents and could not play cops and robbers properly

Deepak to Sanjay.... This Boy (Myself) Does not even though how to play any game......

Deepak was more aggressive / outgoing / quick-witted while Sanjay was more calm
Also remember the time when Sanjay left from Kano to join a school in India 

My Regards to my childhood friends... God be with them.

[By :Kumar Vajjhala  ]

I had the good fortune to visit the site of the memorial in Ireland in April of 2006.  While there I left a pebble from Woburn and Woburn Junior on the memorial sundial.

[By :Terry Flahiff  ]

Sanjay and Deepak were my cousins...although I was still young when this heinous crime occurred and they were taken from us at their young age, I remember fondly the times when we used to all play together as children. While I miss them dearly, I am confident that they are at peace and looking lovingly down on us knowing that no one can ever remove them from our hearts and our memories.

[By :Nishant Rao  ]

Beautiful souls who were snatched away from us too soon. While this deep void will never be filled, we will continue to fill it with love, prayers, and hope. The disaster showed the worst of humanity, but also the best of humanity (our several friends and well-wishers in Ireland, Canada, India).

[By :Nikhil/Lavina Rao  ]