Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Out of harm's way

The Libyan unrest will forever be etched into my memory, because for me and my family it was personal. My dad was evacuated from Libya only two days ago. Thankfully, he left Zawiyah just before things got worse. Not that things were good before he left; in fact, when I called him up two days before he left Zawiyah he told me that he could hear gunshots outside his house. I was so scared I thought it was best if he just stayed inside the house; getting out of the house even for evacuation could be dangerous. But yesterday's news showed what would've happened if he had stayed there any longer - dozens of civilians were killed.

Dad's evacuation would've been painless if his bag wasn't stolen on his way to Tunisia. Dad and his Indian colleagues were to go to an airport in Tunisia to take a flight back to India. The Indian embassy sent buses and trucks to Zawiya. People would take the bus, and the luggage would be brought in trucks to Tunisia. At the Tunisian border, he had to give up his simcard and his phone! This meant he wouldn't be able to contact us until he reached India. On reaching Tunisia, he found one of his two bags missing -- the bag that had his laptop (months worth of research!) and all the cash. His bag was stolen. Dad was now rendered phone-less and penniless. Dad could manage just one call back home explaining his situation and that he had a few friends helping him out. He stayed in Tunisia for four days until his name turned up on the roster of evacuees. By then all his friends had already been evacuated. His stay at Tunisia, however, seemed pleasant because he and all the evacuees were accommodated at a three-star hotel and were provided with free and unlimited food (both veg and non-veg) throughout the day.

On the fourth day, he boarded EgyptAir (apparently Indian Airlines wasn't the only carrier bringing back Indians) which brought him to Mumbai with one stop at Cairo International airport for refuelling. At Mumbai, the embassy gave every evacuee a free air/rail ticket to anywhere in the country along with Rs.2000 so they could reach home comfortably. Dad was given a 3AC ticket to Chennai that evening. He reached Chennai the next evening. My mum, sis and I were at our native place (Berhampur, Orissa) for my cousin's wedding ceremony all this while which, of course, we couldn't attend. We reached the morning after dad reached, but boy were we relieved to have him back and safe.

Dad is very upset about losing his laptop and all his research work in it, but he sure has kind words for the way the Indian government handled the evacuation process. Mum also agrees that the officials were very supportive when she had called the control centre at Delhi to find out what and how things were being done.


Akshay said...

I can truly understand your dad's plight Manasa. A laptop can be recovered and if not, it's always possible to buy another one but what matters here is that your dad reached India safely. Life is surely more important than just a laptop. I just realized the intensity of the situation in Libya after reading your post. We have to admit that the Indian officials are doing their job quite well with a lot of poise and dignity. Please convey my regards to your parents!

Manasa said...

Thanks Akshay :) You see it isn't about the laptop, but all the research work and documentation he's done on it.

Divya Kamath Hundi said...

Oh God Mana! Thank God he is back and safe! Wish he could get all his research work back though :( That is really sad.. No back-up anywhere huh??

Manasa said...

@Divvi He didn't backup his recent work. But he did email me some of it for grammatical corrections. So I have some of it in my inbox but that's very little.

Divya Kamath Hundi said...

Oh :(. He must be feeling so helpless about it.

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