A day at the Fun 'n' Food Village on Thursday was the perfect gift for children for who will be honoured with the National Bravery Awards 2011. But for the families of 5 out the 24 recipients, who died while saving lives, it was a day mixed with nostalgia and pride.
As their parents shared their story at the amusement park, tears were difficult to control. Adithya, the 14-year-old winner of the Bapu Gaidhani Award, lost his life while saving his friend from drowning.
Adithya's mother Gayatri Pillai, accompanied by husband KVG Pillai, said, "I lost my son when he was studying in Class 9 and we were thinking about his future. He was always ready to help others. He used to collect money and donate it.”
Moreover, the seven-month pregnant Gayatri is not ready to believe that her son is not with her anymore.
"God is sending him again in my life. He was taken away by mistake. He will be here with me soon," she said with tears in her eyes.
For Anara Devi and Rajesh Kumar, who lost their daughter Lovely Verma, life has stopped ever since.
"My daughter was alone on that day. I curse myself everyday for not having accompanied her. I think she got angry and refused to give me company ever again," Anara said. Lovely was the only daughter among three siblings.
The 24 children will be honoured with the award on January 23. All the winners of the National Bravery Award were treated with gifts, free rides and lunch by the Fun 'n' Food Village and they also received a lifetime membership pass.
Moreover, the management promised that they would be considered on a priority basis whenever they wished to work at the park.
A DIFFERENT STORY
For 12-year-old Om Prakash Yadav, who will be honoured with the Sanjay Chopra Award, September 4, 2010, will always remain an important part of his life.
The boy from UP managed to save his schoolmates from a burning school van, but was left with severe burn injuries and a paralysed right arm. Now, he is looking for sponsors for his treatment. "On the way to school, our van caught fire due to a short circuit in the gas kit. The driver immediately opened the door and fled. I managed to break open the door and pull out eight students to safety," Yadav recalled. He was under treatment at a hospital for three months. But limited resources have left him with burnt ears, face and a right arm the IAS aspirant can barely lift.
Lal Bahadur, Om's father, has been running from pillar to post. "I am happy that my son is being honoured but he is often ridiculed in his peer group over the burn injuries. We want someone to help us," he said.