Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Asin wins hearts in Sri Lanka

“Asin, don’t leave us, stay with us,” screamed the young girls at the Siriliya Sevana orphanage in Vavuniya, Sri Lanka, on Sunday. In a quiet gesture of solidarity with displaced people — something that no one from Tamil Nadu had attempted in the island nation — Asin stayed back in Colombo even after the crew of Ready wound up and left the island nation. Asin, who is facing the threat of a red card from the Nadigar Sangam for daring to shoot in Sri Lanka for the Bollywood film Ready co-starring Salman Khan, had earlier evinced interest in visiting war torn areas to Namal Rajapaksa, MP and son of the Lankan president. She had also set in motion an eye camp in Vavuniya along with Salman Khan’s Being Human Foundation.

On Sunday, Asin’s wish came true and she became the first international star to visit former LTTE strongholds of northern and eastern Lanka, when she took a chopper in the company of Shiranthi Wickramasinghe Rajapaksa, wife of the Lankan president. The first halt was at the eye camp in Vavuniya, to oversee the surgery conducted by a team of five surgeons from India, and to interact with the patients.
“I want to do whatever it takes to help these people regain their eyesight,” said Asin, “We will continue to periodically host these eye camps across the Northern and Eastern regions of Sri Lanka until all the 10,000 registered patients have been attended to,” she added. Asin hopes to bring in more doctors and medication in the second phase in November. Asin’s agenda is to reach out to people, simply and effectively. “To me, the best moment was when one recovering patient awoke after his operation and removed his eye patch only to be surprised to see his favourite actress standing beside his bed. The elderly patient kept asking the nurses if it was a dream! That one moment made my entire journey to Sri Lanka worthwhile.I knew I was able to not only provide sight to an elderly father in need but I was also able to reach out to the people in need and bring them genuine happiness in the little way I could,” said Asin.

Peals of laughter were heard during Asin’s entire stay at the Children’s home and when the time came for her to leave, a lot of chidlren were in tears, begging her not to leave. “Five more minutes akka.. five more minutes.. please...,” cried the young ones. “Please bring Vijay, Suriya, Ajith and all the other actors next time you come,” added the girls in between their sobs. Asin departed with a heavy heart, promising to convey the message.


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