Monday, February 23, 2009


As “fireworks” split the night death came out of the sky

Don’t go outside when the guns start firing…
A single bullet snuffs out a young life

By Nadia Fazlulhaq, Pic by Ranjith Perera
Until someone called her to watch the ‘fireworks’ from the direction of the Kolonnawa area, 14-year-old Udeshini Madushika, was a cheerful young girl who danced to tunes played on her mobile phone.
On that fateful night, as the city was plunged into darkness minutes before the air attack, Madushika ran outside to watch the ‘fireworks’ display created by tracer bullets lighting up the darkened skies.

Udeshini Madushika
She never knew her young life was about to be snatched from her, leaving her loved ones inconsolable and miserable. Madhushika, a grade 10 student of Ananda Balika Vidyalaya, in Maradana was the younger daughter of Chandrika and Gamini Udayasiri.

When The Sunday Times visited her home in Obeysekarapura Rajagiriya, the large numbers weeping over the loss of Madhushika bore testimony to the fact she was a favourite among both young and old.

Her mother Chandrika sobbed loudly blaming herself for calling her daughters who were inside the house to watch Friday night’s attack.

“I did not give ear to my husband calling ‘enough enough, come inside’”. “Suddenly my daughter fell and there was blood oozing from her chest. We rushed her to the hospital. I have no idea from where the bullet which killed my daughter came and from. .. I will never forgive myself for what I did,” she says, pleading with those gathered to bring her daughter back to life.

Udeshini’s grieving family at the hospital.
Madhushika had always been her father’s favourite. Gamini Udayasiri sits in a corner blinking back tears. “After classes we went to the temple nearby for a Bodhi Pooja and on our way back she was talking about what happened at her classes. She was the ‘chatter-box’ of the family. This house will be lonely as a graveyard without her,” he laments.

It was only recently she promised her father she would never leave him alone and would take care of him in his old-age, while her elder sister –-Budhhika-- would care for her mother.

While they were inside their house, explosions were heard and despite the father’s protests the mother and two daughters rushed outside to watch the skies light up with anti aircraft fire.

Amidst growing excitement of the crowds who had gathered to watch, a single bullet silently buried itself deep in the little girl’s heart.

“I plead with everyone, over and over again… do not go out no matter how interesting it is,” the grieving father said.

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