From the time they heard of the explosions that sank INS Sindhurakshak, a family in Amritsar had been keeping fingers crossed. Because one from the family was among the 18 on board the submarine when it went down.
When three bodies were recovered on Friday, so badly charred that they had to be sent for DNA profiling, the Sharmas wept — sailor Atul Sharma would have turned 22 this very day.
Hemraj Sharma, who teaches Sanskrit at the Hindu Sabha School here, was inconsolable: “It was Atul’s 22nd birthday today.” He said Atul was to return home on August 12 but for some reason, his leave was cancelled . “Had he come, he would have been with us on his birthday.”
Uncle Ramesh Sharma and younger brother Arun are in Mumbai — the family received a phone call that they needed to be there for “an emergency”.
Ramesh said the bodies were so badly charred that they could not be identified. “After completing 10+2, he underwent training for a year before landing the job. He last visited us nearly seven months ago. Last week, he called to say he would be out on a mission and would not return for 25 days,” Hemraj said.