Young wife slain in New York buried here
-- buried with favourite teddy bear
By Wendella Davidson
March 24, 2007
NATASHA Ramen and husband Leonard spent March 1-0 vacationing from New York with her relatives in her home village, Grove, East Bank Demerara.
While here, she took time out to visit former teachers and friends, including those at Central High School which she attended in Georgetown.
Yesterday, 13 days later, relatives and friends gathered at the Second Street, Grove residence of her parents to bid a final farewell to the beautiful 20-year-old, who was murdered just five days after she and husband had returned to New York.
Born on September 11, 1986, she was the first of three children for Ronald and Shamela Kandhai.
It was quite a pensive atmosphere as Natasha, also called `Molly’, lay in a bronze casket with white inner lining, dressed in a turquoise sari with gold sequins, her hands folded and clutching a bouquet of fresh roses.
A diamond-studded tiara was placed on her head along with a covering (urni) of the same material as her sari, and a white teddy bear with a red ribbon around the neck was placed at her right side. A yellow shawl was also drooped around the body.
Her husband, Leonard, 25, mother Shamela, and sister Sherry-Ann holding brother Rajendra, Jnr. sat besides the body for the close to five hours of viewing, the funeral service conducted by Pandit K.P. Shivsankar, and many tributes.
The latter included from her husband, and Dr. Rudy Jadoopat, formerly of Grove, who spoke on behalf of Grove/Diamond Cultural Organisations; Cricket U.S.A Corp; Worldwide Business, Political and Cultural Corp and ITV Vision of Asia, all New York- based organisations.
In an emotional eulogy, Onita Bynoe, one of Natasha’s former class teachers at Central High, recalled the joyful reunion at the school just recently when the young woman had visited.
According to her, Natasha spent her formative years at the Grove Nursery School and then attended Covent Garden Primary before moving on the high school and later migrating to the U.S. at age 15.
There she went to James Madison High School where she completed her GED and on account of her academic ability won an award as ambassador of Guyana from the United Nations.
Bynoe said Natasha, who worked as a secretary at the Elite Limousine Service, Long Island City, had applied to take care of her disabled brother, who she was looking forward to joining her some day.
She was struggling to accomplish her goals but despite this she did her utmost for her family, she noted.
She was the bread winner of her “mamma” as she called her mother and was considered a shining light to her family.
One very touching aspect of the funeral ceremony brought many to tears, when according to traditional Hindu rites, the husband, while obscured from the public by way of a cloth, as was done when they were married, was required to “bring down the sindoor”, a red power which signifies that an Indian woman is married.
Tears flowed freely again from some in attendance when, Ria, a family member, read a tribute written by Natasha’s husband in which he said, “I miss you very much; they took you away, my white dove. They took away my life, my strength, everything that was you. I have nothing left except a missing heart and I still won’t believe it’s true.”
Leonard Ramen tribute spoke too of all their dreams being lost forever…”Oh babe, I miss you. Everywhere I look is empty. I turn my back to call for you but you’re no longer there with me.
I’ll miss your love, your touch, your smile, my little baby. I hope someday I’ll see you again still waiting for me.”
Here for the funeral, were several overseas-based relatives, including Bibi Bharat, an aunt; Khairool Rahaman, grandmother; Asaad Rahaman, uncle; M. Rahaman, uncle; Asha Rahaman, aunt; and Steven Kallop, Sabrina Taylor and Sonny Bharat, cousins.
So too were former headmistress of Central High School Rosemarie Fraser, teachers Rodrick Gordon and Bynoe, who read the eulogy; and classmates, Roshana Mahadeo, her best friend, Robert Singh, and Shameza David.
Natasha Ramen was laid to rest at the Kaneville Cemetery, about a mile away from her family home.
Natasha was murdered, her throat slit, on March 15 last outside their Queens, New York apartment.
She left home in Queens around 08:00h last week Thursday. New York newspaper reports said the killer came from behind, encircling her with a bear hug. She managed two terrified shrieks before her neck was forced back and a knife plunged in her throat, then drawn across, slitting it. The killer then fled.
Natasha was found shortly after bleeding by the couple’s landlady and rushed to Mary Immaculate Hospital where she held on to life for 14 hours. She succumbed at 23:15h.
Hemant Megnath, 29, also a Guyanese-born, charged with raping Natasha in 2005, has been charged with killing her.
The rape occurred in May 2005 while Natasha was searching for an apartment. New York newspapers said she was introduced to Megnath through an acquaintance.
Leonard claimed that after the rape charge, Megnath harassed his parents, “specifically my dad at nights, and in the wee of the morning, about one and two o’clock. He would threaten to kill me and my family because of what we are doing to him.”
Natasha’s mother Thursday could barely overcome the grief as she spoke fondly of her eldest daughter.
“She was my best child; she was very ambitious; she knew what she wanted and loved her husband dearly. It hurts as a mother that I was not there at her side when she was suffering… this is hard, I don’t know how I will live this down,” she said, unable to hold back the tears that streamed down her cheeks.