Network for Youth in Transition


Hear My VOICE: Thenuja Tharmeshwaran ~ “I am always my father’s pet”


By: DushiYanthini 

Thenuja Tharmeshwaran struggles and unable to forget the traumatic past

Thenuja Tharmeshwaran (15) waits with hope at the entrance of her school~ Kondavil Hindu Maha Vidyalayam in Jaffna district in Sri Lanka. Her eyes are full and filled with tears and roll down her cheeks while she shares her agony with me sitting closer in Jaffna, North of Sri Lanka. She wears a pristine White pleated frock which is the school uniform with Light Blue and White tie, her hair is middle parted, neatly plaited into two and tied with matching brilliant blue silk ribbon. Red stone circle ear studs add colour to her complexion. A White pair of shoes tightly tied and feet are fixed to the cement floor. She sits straight on a Brown plastic chair and makes instant eye contact. Her fingers are crossed and she keeps quiet most of the time thinking deep. Black round “Pottu” (dot) is placed perfectly between her two eyebrows along with sandalwood and holy ash on top decorating her smooth forehead. It shows her strong spirituality.

I lost my father during the war. I feel sad and helpless, when I think of my beloved father. I always feel terribly lost after his death .He is my bestest friend, and I am always his pet. My heart does not allow me anytime to speak in past tense, when I talk about my father. Because I feel he is always with me~ he loves me, listens to me, cares for me, talks to me and watches me, although he is not physically near to me. But he is always dear to me” shares Thenuja Tharmeshwaran.

She lived in Vanni, North of Sri Lanka, which was formerly controlled by the Tamil rebels known as Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam who were defeated by the Government security forces in May 2009. She got displaced during the war and stayed in the internally displaced camp in Vavuniya in Sri Lanka. Gradually she moved to Jaffna, and she currently lives there with her extended family.

I have nightmares while sleeping, because I am unable to forget my father and the sweet memories. We used to play hide and seek and snake and ladder together. These are our favourite games. I miss him so dearly.I often dream that, my father is still alive somewhere, but it is not true in reality. He is (was) such a loving and caring father, who never failed in his duties. He attended to my needs and wishes whether he had enough money or not” her voice cracks down and tears begin to pour through her both eyes endlessly. She uses her pink handkerchief with embroidery to wipe the uncontrollable tears.

She is unable to get rid of the trauma of losing her father suddenly. But she tries to attend the school regularly, pay attention to her studies and pass the exams. She rarely mixes with the rest of the kids.

My favourite subject is Tamil. I want to study hard and become a teacher. I want to make my father’s dream come true to change the lives of the people” continues Thenuja Tharmeshwaran with hope in her eyes and heart.

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