The 23rd of June,Ahakista,Ireland

On the 23rd of June,1985,at 8 am ,in an act of terrorism,an AirIndia flight was blown up over the Atlantic Ocean in Irish air space. All 329 passengers and crew died. Many of the passengers were children and women coming to India for their summer holidays.Only half the bodies were recovered from the ocean. A memorial has been built on the shores of the tiny,beautiful village of Ahakista ,in the west coast of Ireland. Ahakista was the nearest land point from the place of the crash. Every year on the 23d of June at 8 am relatives of the victims and  Indian embassy officials travel to this memorial and ,with members of the local county council ,hold a moving service .

I traveled for the service from Dublin with my husband ,Debashish. It was a grey, rainy morning .The countryside was exquisite. The sea along Ahakista was grey and calm . It was a strange feeling to see a calm ocean when actually it held so many ended lives somewhere in its depths. I was moved but also experienced a sense of betrayal to see beautiful countryside and normal life going on when actually such tragedy had occurred. With humility ,I tried to put words to some feelings which I wanted to share:


Above the skies -brooding and grey

Below the land -fresh and green.
Little houses dot the rolling hills like jewels-
What stories unfold within each ?

Transparent winds bend the trees,

Glittering rain soothes my face,
I see the grey waters of the Atlantic
Its waves rising and falling ,gently lapping,
As I stand on the shores of Ahakista.

Faded pictures stand as testimony,

Flowers offered,incense burned.
I watch its smoke rise,sway and then
Blend with the grey skies above.

Figures around me ,

Huddled against the wind and rain.
I scan their faces-
Do I see grief,anger,pain ?
If tears -they only blend with the rain,
As it falls into the grey sea
On the shores of Ahakista.

The waters of the Atlantic so serene-

How many stories lie deep within its womb ?
Unfinished stories,
Of joys not experienced,
Of sorrows not shared,
Of hopes not fulfilled.
I look at the sea so calm,
At a land so beautiful
As I stand
On the shores of Ahakista.

       Debashish had not carried a camera for the service .There are images of the memorial on the web. He did,however, take some pictures around Ahakista on that grey day later. I have had to compress them to make them fit the page. Two of them are here.

Lone house with sheep on the Atlantic shore(Ahakista)

                                                        Boats of the village (Ahakista)


About Adity

Hello ! You are either already a friend or will become one--through this medium! I am an artist and jewellery maker, a wife and mother to two lovely children. Beautiful homes, food, nature and wonderful things happening around me make me ecstatic. That is why I started to write this blog-- to share with you all of these things. After all what good is any experience if not shared !
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One Response to The 23rd of June,Ahakista,Ireland

  1. Anonymous says:

    The poem is a good description of Ahakista after 27 years of this tragic incident when you are scanning the faces and searching the grief, anger, pain. On the shores of serene Ahakista tears will always flow but may not be visible when it rains. The heart of serene Ahakista will always weep in silence for these unfortunate people. Very good heart touching poem.

    Chameli from Dublin

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