Neha Parab Kandalgaonkar was at work in a Bandra public relations agency on Friday when she heard the news about the earthquake in Japan from colleagues.
Panic immediately swept through her as her younger sister, 24-year-old Netra Parab, had been in Japan for the past six months and was to catch a flight home from Tokyo on Friday morning itself.
While anxious friends and relatives made frantic calls to her grandmother who was alone at their Kurla home, Kandalgaonkar and her parents, who were also worried sick at their offices, started making calls to the airport authorities.
After a few attempts, they calmed down when they heard that Parab’s flight had left Tokyo two hours before the quake struck. “Even after we found out that she was safely on the flight, it was worrying not to be able to get in touch with her directly,” said Kandalgaonkar, 28, who finally received her sister from Mumbai airport at 8.30 pm. “She’s extremely lucky to have escaped the calamity.”
Parab, who was teaching Japanese on a language-teaching programme in the country, is now anxious about her numerous friends from Japan and other countries stranded there. “Now, she has no means of getting in touch with friends in Japan,” said Kandalgaonkar.
Meanwhile, Breach Candy resident Prachal Mehra and her family could not help feeling tense even though they knew Mehra’s paternal aunt lives in Kobe in south Japan, far from the epicentre in the north. For some time they could not get in touch with their aunt. “Luckily we were able to speak to her and were very relieved to know that she was safe,” said Mehra, 30, a human resource professional.