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Monday, May 31, 2010

Providential Escape

BY PMA RASHEED
23 May 2010, The Gulf Today

The decision of a moment diverted them to an extended lease of delightful life.
Mohammed Shareef, a sales executive working at RAK Paints, would have lost lives of five members in his family including his own and his expected child's, if he hadn't cancelled his journey to his native place, Mangalore.
"Thank God for making me postpone the trip," he sighed in relief, referring to the ill-fated Air India Express flight, which he was supposed to take.
Hailing from Uppinangadi - a village proximate to Mangalore - Shareef, his pregnant wife Rukhsana, elderly mother Mariyumma and two-year-old daughter Shazmi, had scheduled their trip to Mangalore on Friday night by the Air India Express carrier Boeing 737-800 that crashed on Saturday.
"My pregnant wife was unable to fly on the day as per the schedule, so I postponed the trip for May 25 a few hours before the time," he said.
"My cousin Noushad, who is running an advertising firm in Sharjah, is supposed to come back to Dubai by the crashed flight in its return, scheduled for 8am Indian time," he added.
Anil Kumar, a salesman in City Light Electrical Suppliers in Rolla, had also postponed his scheduled trip by the crashed Flight IX892, eventually saving his life and dreams.
Kumar, hailing from Uduma area in Kasargode, said, "Due to urgent workload in our showroom, my manager forcefully asked me to cancel the journey."
"I am grateful to God for his mercy in saving my life, and to my superior for forcing to cancel the trip," he added.
Workload also pulled back Kunhikannan Chandu, a supermarket manager at Lulu in Al Qusais, from traveling by the crashed Air India Express carrier to Mangalore.
Chandu, a native of Kanjnagad in Kasargode district, said, "As my superior officer requested, I had to postpone my emergency leave taken for my son's college admission procedures."
"Thank God for saving me and my family," he added.
Ibrahim Moideen Kunju, employee of Daniel Cigarette factory, escaped death by a whisker thanks to a last minute goof-up. “I was planning to travel with a neighbour on the crashed plane, but had to cancel at the last minute because I could not get my passport back from the company HR manager.”
“The manager had promised to return it on Saturday and I did not inform my family about cancelling the trip. I had got married only three months ago and my wife, Fathima Najma, called me in the morning to know if I was alive,” he added.
Another person who had a narrow escape is Steven Rego, a student of Alosius College in Mangalore. Says his mother, Sheela Rego: “God had different plans. He was to board that flight. I booked the ticket for him but was confused about the date. We though the flight was at 1.15am tonight, so he did not make it. My son has been saved.”
Thresiamma Philip, a nurse in Dibba of Dubai, also missed the flight due to the same goof-up about its timing. “I thought the flight was on Saturday night. I saw my name among the list of dead being put out, but I am alive. I was going to Mangalore to meet my daughter studying there.
Hameed, secretary of a building owner in Rolla, said that his two friends had cancelled their trip by the crashed flight during the last hours, and flew to Calicut.
"The duo, businessmen Ameer and Basheer, changed their route in fear of getting trapped in a local strike and related safety risks due to a communal riot going around near Malligarjuna temple in part of Kararagode," he said.
"Eight other people from the same locality had also rerouted their trip through Calicut airport by Emirates flight, cancelling in the last moments their journey by the ill-fated Air India Express to Mangalore," said Khaleel, a shop owner from their native place in Kasargode.
"There was also a scare about the attacks from the communal rioters that emerged after the temple's wall was painted with colours and pictures resembling other religion's symbols," added the shop owner.

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