Back in his nest in Kolkata after spending days in Tripoli amidst the constant roar of fighter jets and the sound of gunshots, Debabrata Biswas feels he has returned from hell.
The middle-aged resident manager of ONGC Videsh recently came back from the troubled Libyan capital, and is now a relived man.
"I feel relived after coming back from Libya, I feel like I have come back from hell," Biswas said.
The oil-rich North African country of Libya was tense following two weeks of violence between troops loyal to the country’s leader Muammar Gaddafi and a determined opposition trying to overthrow the regime.
The battle has left between 3,000 and 6,000 people dead and forced about 140,000 people to flee. Though the capital Tripoli is still in Gaddafi's control, many key towns, particularly in the east, have been overtaken by the rebels.
Funerals were being held daily for those who fall victim to the fierce battle between troops loyal to 68-year-old Gaddafi and the demonstrators.
“It all started on February 16. There were reports of sporadic incidents in various towns of Libya and there was gossip that problems would start in Tripoli soon. I paid no heed to those gossips and went on with my work in Tripoli,” said Biswas.
“From the night of February 20, there were sounds of shots being fired and I got tense and contacted my family in Kolkata and told them not to worry as reports of turmoil in Libya had already started reaching India,” said Biswas, who had been working in Tripoli since 2000.
Biswas remembers the scenes of tanks and anti-aircraft guns on the streets of Tripoli and fighter jets roaring in the skies of the city.
“The entire mobile phone networks were jammed. The internet connection was irregular. Only intermittently, could I get online to talk to my family,” said Biswas
Later, ONGC officials from India contacted Biswas and told him that he will get a ticket back to India as early as possible.
“On February 25, I was taken to the airport. I had to get down one km away from the airport as there was a long queue of people who wanted to leave Libya,” said Biswas.
“But there was no plane to India on February 25, so I got caught a flight on February 26. I didn't get to eat the whole day. I only got to eat when I boarded the plane. It is as if I have come back from hell,” said Biswas.