My darkest hours

Mumbai’s Zaida Ansari recounts the terror of being caught in the Oman cyclone; she came to the city yesterday for a vacation

Safe: Zaida Ansari with her sons Amir and Harshad at their Nagpada residence after they returned to India from Muscat yesterday

 
Zaida Ansari, a teacher from a school in Oman, had started counting her last days, when the deadly Gonu (tropical cyclone) hit major cities of Oman on Wednesday.

Ansari had even asked her friend from another city in Oman, which was not affected, to pass on a message to her mother who lived in India.

But she survived and lived to tell her story. Ansari landed in India yesterday at 5.45 pm.

Talking to MiD DAY at her in-laws’ residence in Nagpada, she said, “I told my friend that if anything happened to me she was to tell my mother that though she had always been a great parent, I had never been a good daughter. I had always wanted to tell her that, but could never say it.”

Lucky few

The Ansaris, however, were among the more fortunate families caught in the cyclone. Since they live in a penthouse on the second floor, they didn’t face much material damage.

Recalled Ansari, “We provided shelter to the five families living on the ground and first floors of our building.

We spent more than 10 hours in darkness. It was only when the first rays appeared, that we were able to believe that we would survive this.” Their building was damaged extensively.

She said, “We had advance warning, so we were prepared. But we never believed it would be so bad. We were told a company lost 7,000 of the 10,000 passports they had with them.”

Good efforts

Zaida was satisfied with the relief and rescue efforts made by the government agencies.

“Power is yet to be restored in our part of the city. But at least there is drinking water and aid is pouring in from neighbouring countries.

Muscat is said to be one of the cleanest cities in the world, so it’ll be some time before it’s back to what it was,” she concluded, eagerly waiting to meet her mother who was due to arrive there soon.

http://mid-day.com/news/city/2007/june/159087.htm

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