Air-India flew 261 people from Lebanon to Mumbai and 341to Chennai on Friday — and they were each greeted with a single rose at touchdown. More are expected on Sunday. All of them were ordinary people, who were just happy to be alive.
Among those who landed in Mumbai was Kalpanath Yadav (36) sustained severe head injuries from a bomb attack in the war-zone: he worked for a glass-manufacturing factory in Maliban, and his colleague, who hailed from Orissa, died in the attack. “Indians were rescued after almost six days of war,” says Yadav.
“Had they been more prompt, I wouldn’t have been injured, and my friend would have been alive… abhi wapas jaane ki iccha mar gayi hai,” he says from his bed at JJ Hospital.
Meanwhile, 90-year-old Sharadaben Dabe — who was on a 3-month visit to her son in Lebanon when the war strikes started — still can’t believe what has happened: “Everything was so clean and beautiful… why did they destroy the roads, bridges and buildings?”