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Gulf dream gone sour

After 20 years living below a staircase after bankruptcy in Oman, Vasukuttan returns home.

india Updated: Feb 23, 2006 14:58 IST

Vasukuttan came home Thursday - back to Kerala after almost 20 years of living under a staircase in Oman in complete penury following the collapse of his business.

Waiting to greet him at the airport as he got off a Qatar Airways flight from Muscat was elder brother Sreedharan who could only say: "I am happy as well as sad."

Happy that his brother was back, and sad for a virtual lifetime spent in a foreign land alone and helpless - till Asianet TV telecast his story last week and a group of Keralites got together to make arrangements for him to travel back home.

Vasukuttan, who hails from Malapally in Pathanamthitta district, was one of the many who ventured to the Middle East hoping for affluence. But the dreams faded soon when his small business in Muscat crumbled and he was reduced to living under a staircase in a room owned by a Pakistani national.

According to reports, he had started a small time business in art material but found himself in heavy debt when it did not take off.

"I am really happy that I am back in my home state. I thank everyone who made this possible. I do not know how to express myself," said a weak Vasukuttan who came out of the aircraft in a wheelchair.

Meanwhile, life seems to have passed him by. His wife and daughter are in Jabalpur and will be back after the latter finishes her examination.

After waiting for 20 years to see them, perhaps the next few days will be all the more interminable for Vasukuttan.