“On October 7, around 6.30am, the shrieking sound jolted us out of slumber. Within no time we were made to vacate our accommodations and move to a nearby shelter on the university campus (of Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research,” Kaur, who is six months pregnant, told TOI over FaceTime from Tel Aviv, adding the bunker kept them safe.
Jaideep Kaur said while evacuating, the couple could only grab a few snacks and bare minimum belongings. “Later, we got to know the heavy concrete dwelling was impenetrable for the bombs and rockets raining on us. It kept us safe. In all, we were 50 in that bunker.”
Kaur is stranded along with her husband and three-year-old daughter in south Israel’s Sde Boker, about 74km from Gaza Strip. She was supposed to board a flight to India for the delivery of the baby at her parent’s home in UP‘s Amroha on October 12. “But the attack jeopardised all our plans. Let’s see what happens,” she said.
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“Thankfully, we had Wi-Fi inside the shelter and could see videos and news of the horrific attack. My husband took away the phone and later allowed me to watch only web series but no news in order to prevent me from anxiety considering my pregnancy,” she said. “We pray everything becomes normal and we get to meet our family in India soon. We cannot talk to them on the phone or WhatsApp, FaceTime is the only option available as of now.”
Back home in Amroha, tensions ran high as Jaideep’s family was unable to contact her for three days. Kaur’s father Surendra Singh Dhillon, 55, said, “On Tuesday morning, around 11am, I managed to connect with her after numerous failed attempts and was relieved to hear that my daughter, son-in-law and their kid are safe for now. I request the Indian government to safely evacuate those stuck in the war zone.”
Randhawa, an IITian from Roorkee, is currently associated with Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research in Tel Aviv.