24-year-old cheats death twice and lives to celebrate Deepavali

GEORGE TOWN - Nurse G. Gajashaantini, 24, is thankful to God for still being able to celebrate Deepavali because she has cheated death twice in the last 10 years.

She thought she would die when falling debris from a collapsed ramp of the second Penang bridge smashed through the windscreen of the car she was travelling in on June 6.

When she was 15, she was swept away by a giant wave during the Dec 26, 2004 tsunami.

"I wake up every day feeling thankful to the deities for watching over me and protecting me," Gajashaantini said. "I truly believe I'm blessed after the two near-death incidents in the last 10 years."

Recalling the June 6 incident, Gajashaantini said she was heading towards George Town with her friend R. Thilasheni, 24, also a nurse, after visiting a friend's house near Queensbay Mall.

"We had to drive further down the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway towards Batu Maung to make a U-turn after Thilasheni, who was driving, missed an interchange.

"We were chatting in the car when suddenly, there was this thunderous sound right in front of us.

"The next thing we know, a big piece of metal beam had crashed into our windscreen along with some concrete debris," she said.

Both of them suffered only bruises on their legs although they were less than two metres away from the scene of the accident.

Nine years ago, Gajashaantini was enjoying a picnic with family members at the Miami Beach in Batu Ferringhi when she was swept away by giant waves which claimed thousands of lives.

She survived, thanks to her quick-thinking brother who managed to pull her to safety.

Gajashaantini was at the Sri Ambagarathur Bathra Kaliamman Temple in Kampung Baru, Air Itam, yesterday. She was there to seek blessings from the goddess.

Accompanying her were her sister Gajashaankiri, 23, adopted brother S. Saravanan, 26, and friends S. Pavittira, 26, and T. Naresh, 23.