Former ISM student among Indians evacuated from Ukraine

Muscat - 

A former student of Indian School Muscat (ISM) is among the 1,000 Indian nationals evacuated by the Indian government from the violence-hit eastern Ukraine last week.

Varsha Nair arrived in India’s western city of Mumbai on Tuesday after spending nearly a week in the Ukrainian capital Kiev following her evacuation from Luhansk on June 3.

“The Indian Embassy arranged for our stay and food in Kiev and also provided a travel desk to help with our onward journey home,” Varsha told Muscat Daily from Mumbai.

Varsha, a second year student at the Lugansk State Medical University (LSMU) in Luhansk, was among the first batch of 500 Indians to be moved out. The second batch of 500 was evacuated a day later.

Speaking earlier from the Ukrainian capital, the medico recalled a couple of ‘anxious moments’ as they were leaving Luhansk.

“On June 3, as we left the university campus on a bus for the Luhansk railway station to catch the train for Kiev, we heard gunshots and our heartbeats increased. Thankfully, nothing untoward happened.”

A day earlier, Varsha and her fellow students had also witnessed an explosion as Luhansk came under heavy missile firing by the Ukrainian government.

“On June 2, when some of us went to get our therapy subject signed, we heard several rounds of firing followed by a huge bomb explosion. We came to know later that they were missile attacks. Many local girls were killed in that attack,” she said.

Varsha also recalled how things started deteriorating in the restive city in the weeks leading to the evacuation. “While most basic necessities were available, the prices started increasing by the day. Bus fares were hiked and vegetables and other foodstuff became expensive,” she said, adding, that lately the city was also facing gas and water shortage.

A native of Kochi in India’s southern state of Kerala, Varsha was brought up in Oman. She studied at the ISM from 1998 to 2007 till class seven, following which she went to Mumbai for her studies till class 12.

She remains a frequent visitor to the sultanate as her parents and sister continue to live in Oman.

Varsha’s father Vinod Nair is a general manager in a Sohar-based plastic company, while her sister Veena Harish is a Muscat-based sales professional.

Varsha left for Ukraine in 2012 to pursue a course in medicine. Although she had to leave the course unfinished, Varsha would like to resume her studies in Luhansk ‘if things become normal again’.

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