We read about terror attacks in newspapers, but they happen to others. Jasmine and Xerxes Postwalla living in Nairobi were moved when they read the reports on 26/11 terror attack in Jasmine's hometown Mumbai. Little did they know that 5 years later they, their 3-year-old son Kayan and 10-year-old daughter Jehana and her aunt would be standing 5 metres from the terrorists who killed 67 people in the Nairobi. The family narrated their 3 year ordeal since 26/11 in Mumbai, as they saw close friends dying in front of their eyes, fearing their own death. Jasmine told Zee Media correspondent Akash Soni, "I told my husband if I die, you take care of the kids. He replied, you too."
Jasmine Postwalla originally from Mumbai but settled in Nairobi was in the shopping mall at around 12.30 on Saturday. She had organised a Superchef Contest for children. The children their family and organisers were in the mall when they heard a loud explosion. Kenya is used to crime but not to terror. It was only after more powerful explosions that she saw 2 men of African origin spraying bullets, lobbing grenades walking towards her. As they randomly fired Jasmine saw people falling, blood spilling - then it struck her this is a terror attack.
Her colleague Rohilla Aditya Sood of Indian origin who was seven month pregnant was shot at and dead. She saw more friends die in front of her. She was worried about her 3-year-old son Kayan who was away and she could not see him. Kayan was with his aunt in the same mall away from his mother's sight. Jasmine's daughter was shielded by her husband Xerxes. Terrorists kept shooting at random people. They all started saying prayers - a Punjabi lady reciting the Guru Granth Saheb, a Hindu lady chanting mantras and some Muslims too were praying.
One Al Shahab terrorist, says Jasmine asked who is the Muslim here, the man raised his hand and was immediately released and after that another Muslim was asked to leave.
Jasmine tried to reason out with the 2 terrorists and requested to release her and her children. More people followed. Terrorists shot dead the next man who spoke. Xerxes asked his wife Jasmine to stop talking to them. It was shortly after that that Jasmine thought she would die and told her husband.
As Jasmine saw people dying in front of her, she told her husband - "If I die, you take care of the kids". He replied, you too.
Zee Media correspondent in Nairobi Akash Soni felt tears welling up in his eyes as he heard the story. He asked Jasmine and Xerxes, "How is it that I cannot fight my tears after listening to your stories but you who went through the nerve-wracking ordeal are not crying?"
"We have cried a lot for three days - I think even our tears have dried up," said Jasmine. "But the wounds remain in our psyche."
"A grenade fell near my feet, its shrapnel is inside my feet. It will sooner or later be okay, but the wounds in my heart will remain for long. I tried counselling but that did not help much. Holding hands with my family and close colleagues and friends did, but that too only to a certain extent. "