BANTING: After years of struggle, cleaner K. Anchalay, 52, was finally at peace and happy.
Her children were all grown up and her oldest daughter R. Kalaivani, 30, was about to marry her beau of eight years, J. Sathiswaran, 29.
Kalaivani was back on holiday from her workplace in Taiping and it was with much joy that Anchalay went on her first holiday to Port Dickson with four of her six children on Monday.
But within hours, her world was shattered.
Anchalay’s joy turned to tragedy when Kalaivani and her two younger sisters, Dawige, 29, and Sathiyadevi, 19, drowned right in front of their mother’s eyes.
Sathiswaran and the women’s brother Veeran, 26, were also washed away by the waves but were rescued in the nick of time by the people at the beach.
K. Radha, 54, said her younger sister was inconsolable.
“My sister led a hard life for almost two decades after her husband went to prison. Four of her five children grew up in a children’s home in Perak while she lived in a rented room here in Banting with Sathiyadevi,” said Radha.
She said things were finally looking up for the family with all the children working, except for Sathiyadevi who was pursuing a course in photography at a private college.
Sathiyadevi had just celebrated her 19th birthday last Tuesday.
According to Radha, Dawige had returned to Banting, Selangor, after her release from the home, upon turning 18, to live with her mother and sister.
“It was just over three years ago that they moved out of their rented room and rented a house for the family,” said Radha.
While Anchalay, Dawige and Sathiyadevi lived in the house, Kalaivani lived and worked in Taiping with one of her brothers Kathirevan, 28, whilst Veeran lived at his workplace in Banting.
Another sister Thanalakshmi is married and lives in Johor.
Anchalay’s husband S. Ravi is now working and staying in Klang.
Radha said Dawige, a worker at a factory here, was Anchalay’s pillar of strength and had helped raise the family’s living standards.Anchalay’s mother K. Muniammah, 76, said it was unbearable to lose three granddaughters at the same time and to see her daughter so shattered and broken.
“I wish I were dead. My heart is broken,’’ wept Muniammah.
Anchalay’s sister-in-law V. Rani, 53, said Kalaivani, Dawige and Sathiadevi were beautiful and well-mannered girls who were very respectful of their elders.
“They were also very kind girls and I have never heard them speak harshly to anyone or about anyone,’’ said Rani.
She added that Sathiyadevi was also a good artist and was an active TikToker.
Sathiswaran’s mother Tabitha Anthony, 64, said she was still unable to accept what had happened.
“My son has not stopped crying and the tragedy is just too much for us,’’ she said.
The three sisters were given a grand funeral and cremated at the Sungai Sedu Hindu cemetery with the expenses borne by their father’s employer.