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Singer Chithra’s daughter drowns in Dubai pool

(Sajila Saseendran) / 15 April 2011

Indian playback singer K.S. Chithra’s only daughter drowned in a villa pool in Dubai on Thursday, sparking an outpouring of grief from thousands of Indian expatriates in the UAE.

Eight-year-old Nandana died after drowning in the swimming pool at a villa in Emirates Hills in the morning as the popular singer was reportedly preparing to leave for a rehearsal for a major concert in Sharjah later in the day. Chithra and her husband Vijayshankar were blessed with Nandana after nearly 15 years of marriage.

A Dubai Police source said the parents found the child in the pool at the patio after they realised that she was not inside the home.

A family source said Nandana had reportedly walked out to the patio and accidentally slipped into the pool before being noticed by anyone. “Chithra had left the child in the bedroom after giving her a bath. The child stepped out when Chithra was taking a shower. Unfortunately, the pool was very close to this bedroom,” he said.

Though the child was immediately rushed to Cedars Jebel Ali International Hospital, she was pronounced dead on arrival. Close friends and colleagues who rushed to the hospital could not console the devastated mother who was known for her special caring for the child.

As the news of the death of the child broke during the day, condolence messages started pouring in from thousands of Chithra’s fans in the UAE, India and other countries.

Offering prayers and expressing solidarity to the singer, popularly known as Little Nightingale of South India who successfully bridged the North-South divide in playback singing, fans posted condolence messages across social networking sites and news portals. Many remembered the story of how Chithra used to thank God for blessing her with the child after she sang a devotional song in a hit film named ‘Nandanam’.

“This is painful news. Request and plead the Almighty to please give strength to our own Chithra to face this sad moment of her life. The Gulf has always enjoyed her voice. TV channels have programmes everyday wherein she is the main judge. I cannot express my feelings,” Khaleej Times reader Umesh posted on our website.

Aliyar Kunju, a taxi driver from Kerala, said he was shocked to hear the tragedy that struck his beloved singer. “I’ve seen her performing live only once at Al Nasr Leisure Land in 1990s. But not a single day passes without me hearing her songs through various FM channels. It’s so sad that she had to face this tragedy, that too here in Dubai,” he said.

A six-time national award winner, who has a Padma Shri award to her credit among various other laurels, Chithra was in town to perform at a musical extravaganza to celebrate the compositions of Oscar award-winning music director A.R. Rahman at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday evening.

While other celebrities taking part in the show stayed at hotels, Chithra and her husband Vijayashankar, an engineer,  as usual, preferred to stay at her friend’s                                                  villa to offer better comforts to her daughter. Legendary singer K.J. Yesudas, who has sung thousands of songs with Chithra, and his wife Prabha Yesudas were among the celebrities who visited the grieving couple in Dubai. Several other singers and stars visited Chithra’s house in Chennai, said Devaraj Komath, father of music director Deepak Dev, who lives in Chithra’s neighbourhood in Chennai.

Various associations and Indian Consulate in Dubai also offered condolences to the singer’s family. Consul-General Sanjay Verma said consulate staff was on standby to assist them with consular procedures though it was a holiday for the mission. The child’s body was flown to Chennai on an Emirates flight at 9.30pm.

sajila@khaleejtimes.com

 
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