KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 — Relatives and friends today described 15-year-old S. Satiswaran, whose life was cut short Monday when a chair thrown from a low-cost flat hit him below, as a kind and diligent teenager who always lent a helping hand.
At his family home on Sri Pantai PPR Block 102’s 16th floor, the heavy scent of burning incense wafted in the air, punctured by the sounds of heart-wrenching sobs and the din of the three-man band thumping away at their drums outside the front door.
Satiswaran’s mother S. Kasthuri Bai, 45, did not appear to have slept a wink since yesterday. Beside herself with grief, she threw her arms out on top of her son’s casket every few minutes and cried uncontrollably.
Her eldest son S. Yogeswaran, 18, followed in their father’s footsteps of maintaining a calm demeanour as he gently coaxed his mother while greeting other relatives and well-wishers who came to pay their last respects.
The sight was poignant enough to move even relative strangers to tears, as Satiswaran’s neighbours and schoolmates from SMK La Salle, Brickfields, waited outside so as to avoid getting too caught up in emotion.
His classmate V. Lavinesh, 16, sat by the stairway in silence, his face lined with grief. He told Malay Mail that he had been held back a year, but Satiswaran had always helped him.
“Satiswaran, whom I have known since we were small, always helped me with my classwork. We bonded over car toys, a common interest,” he said.
Lavinesh last saw his classmate on Monday afternoon, recalling what would be the final thing they ever spoke of.
“He asked me to help him get a badge that said ‘I Am Satiswaran’. I was about to head out on Monday evening to order it when another friend told me what happened, to which I quickly rushed to his place,” he said.
Fellow La Sallian R. Kavi Prasan, 17, stood by solemnly. He said more fellow students and others from the adjacent SMK Vivekananda in Brickfields would come by later.
“His humility was matched by his zeal for cooking. He never passed up the opportunity to have us test some of his culinary experiments.
“Last November the school had a cooking competition, and his group came out in second place. You should have seen the joy on his face,” Kavi Prasan said.
Inside the unit, Satiswaran’s maternal cousin brother S.M Puvaneswaran, 18, silently comforted his weeping mother. He said his cousin brother was the most emphatic in the family.
“Even as a child he would always ask about anyone who fell ill, and if the person lived in PPR Sri Pantai, he would ask his parents to go visit them.
“Satiswaran was the apple of my aunt’s eye, always heeding whatever she said and helping her out in household chores,” he said.
Because of this, Puvaneswaran held high hopes his cousin would make it out there someday.
“In primary school he was the chief librarian’s assistant, never failing in carrying out his tasks. Now he will never have the chance to prove himself again,” he said.
As the casket was brought to the ground floor where Yogeswaran and his father K. Sathiasilan, 45, led their male relatives in the final prayer rites, a crowd of neighbours and residents from other blocks had gathered to bid farewell to Satiswaran.
His paternal grandfather, retired canteen worker R. Krishnan, 76, stood by the sides as his health did not permit him to participate as he had wanted.
“You can ask anyone living in Block 102 as to who my grandson is, and they would know. His good behaviour and impeccable character would have seen to that,” he said.
Krishnan’s sorrow is also mixed with anger, as he said he hoped the culprit who threw the office chair would be caught quickly.
“I live on the 21st floor, and for several days I had seen the chair abandoned outside the corridor. But I never would have thought it ended up claiming my grandson’s life,” he said.
Krishnan said this was the problem with many residents in PPR Sri Pantai, whom he described as either being too lazy to throw out their garbage, or were unconcerned if their rubbish would end up injuring someone.
“In all my years living here I always go downstairs to throw my own garbage. Even my painful back condition has not prevented me from doing so. What excuse do others have?” he said.
At 2.20pm, the funeral cortege left for the MBPJ Damansara Hindu Cemetery, where Satiswaran was finally buried.