Chandigarh: It is an autographed birthday gift which still makes Pooja Kataria shiver at the thought of having been aboard the hijacked IC-814, but takes centre stage in her living room.

The beautiful Kashmiri Pashmina shawl was given to her by none other than one of the terrorists who seized the Indian Airlines plane in December 1999 from Kathmandu and commandeered it to Kandahar in Afghanistan. Ms. Kataria, newly-wed, was returning from Kathmandu and coincidentally, her birthday fell during the week the hijack drama continued. Ms. Kataria still has vivid memories of her cutting an apple, with the hijackers singing birthday wishes.

Ms. Kataria, now a mother of two, came back to the national capital along with her husband after their honeymoon in Goa, and the couple soon left for Kathmandu without telling their parents, who did not know about their presence on board the hijacked flight for two or three days. — PTI

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