Only memories left: Jijar with his grandson, 10-year-old Hans Singh Sandhu, who has declared himself the man of the house after the death of his father Sanjid (inset).
Petaling Jaya: When Sanjid Singh Sandhu was a child, his father Jijar Singh Sandhu used to take him around town every day on his motorcycle.
Now, Jijar looks forward to bringing his grandson Hans around, repeating a family tradition. Sanjid died in the MH17 tragedy.
“Hans (Singh Sandhu), today says he is the man of the house. He promised he would take care of his grandparents and his mum. He is just 10 years old,” Jijar told The Star in a phone interview.
“He keeps saying nobody should cry. ‘I will take care of you all,’ he said. I told him he should study hard if he wants to take care of us.”
Despite the brave front, the young boy naturally misses his father and questions the circumstances of his father’s death.
“This is not the way he wanted his father to die. He misses his dad and always yearns for him whenever he feels lonely,” Jijar added.
Sanjid was initially not supposed to be on MH17 but he swapped his shift with another steward.
“I suppose it was fated. He wasn’t supposed to be on the plane but fate can be cruel at times,” said the 71-year-old.
“The moment I heard the news, I had some hope but when it was reported that the plane was shot down, I knew there was no chance of survival.
“He was my only son. He was good, respectful and a very caring person. His wife is still reeling from this loss and she cries almost every day.
Even with all this pain, we have come to terms with this crash,” he said.
Jijar added that he might not be able to see his son’s body as he was usually stationed at the cabin crew bunk which was at the tail end of the plane.
“I have a feeling he was at the tail end of the plane. I heard that the missile might have hit that part. I’m just leaving it to God.
“We can’t blame anybody. If there is no chance for us to get his remains, we will accept it,” said a tearful Jijar.
Sanjid worked in the hotel industry for seven years before joining Malaysia Airlines on June 17, 1997. His wife Tan Bee Geok, 43, also a MAS flight attendant, heard the bad news from her in-laws.
Sanjid’s mother Jajit Kaur Sandhu, 73, said she called her daughter-in-law an hour after hearing about the tragedy from her daughter at 4am.
“She (Tan) said Bobby (Sanjid’s nickname to family and friends) was touching down at 6.10am,” said Jajit.
“It was then that I realised she didn’t know what had happened. So I told her that Bobby was no longer with us.”
Jijar is firm in his wish that those who took away his son and so many others be brought to justice.
“The war is between two countries but the innocent lives on board MH17 perished. We don’t mind if one of us has to go first, but definitely not our son. This is not how the world is supposed to be,” he said.
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