When late on Thursday Aditi came to know that her husband merchant navy captain Sunil James would stop over at New Delhi hours ahead of his arrival in Mumbai, she took the next flight to the capital to receive him.
“It was an impromptu decision. When we woke up in the morning, Aditi had already left for Delhi. She probably couldn’t wait any longer,” said Rakesh Madappa, Sunil’s brother-in-law.
“We didn’t have to talk. We instantly knew what are the circumstances he is coming back in and our priority is Vivaan. Am just relieved that I have been able to bring him back so that he can perform his duties as a father. Our fight to bring him back is over but the task to put our life back on track is yet to begin,” said Aditi.
The funeral of their 11-month-old son Vivaan will be held on Sunday at the St. Orlem Church in Malad. Vivaan died on December 2 after which his body has been kept in a morgue as the family waited for Sunil to return.
Five months after languishing in a prison in Togo on charges of abetting piracy on his ship – MT Ocean Centurion – 31-year-old Sunil returned to Mumbai on Friday afternoon.
“I am thankful to the government for the efforts it has made to ensure my release. Also a special thank you to the president of Togo for intervening so justice could prevail,” said Sunil after he arrived at the domestic airport at 3.30pm by a Jet Airways flight from New Delhi, where he arrived early on Friday morning.
Sunil was welcomed at the airport by family and friends who peeped through the airport glass doors to catch a first glimpse of him. “He has lost almost 15 kgs since I last saw him before he set sail. The physical and mental stress has really taken a toll on him,” said a member of the family.
All charges against him and third engineer, Vijayan Andi, have been dropped and the two have been granted permanent release. The release came after the Indian High Commissioner Jeeva K Sagar met the President of Togo on Thursday.
Sunil’s 75-year-old mother waited to see her son after his ordeal. “Am just relieved to see my son,” said his teary-eyed mother.
Once back in between his family at Aditi’s maternal home, Sunil spent time looking through pictures of his son.
“The last time he saw Vivaan, he was just about four months old. He is just looking through all the photographers to see all that he has missed,” said Madappa.