Stranded in Doha

Article published in The News on Sunday, Apr 25, 2010

Beena Sarwar

Who would ever have thought that a volcano with an unpronounceable name, in Iceland of all places, would suddenly erupt and disrupt the world’s air traffic for days and days – nearly a week as I write this.

Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would be among thousands if not millions of ‘volcanic ash zadgaan’ (affectees) stranded in various places around the world. I’ve had tidal wave nightmares (trapped between an approaching wall of water and a cliff – Paradise Point off the Karachi shore, to be precise) but a volcano thousands of miles away? Not on my horizon until now.

The bad news began trickling in on Thursday night as I packed for a four-day trip to Berlin to participate in a `Trialogue’ between Pakistani, Indian and Afghan delegates, organised by the German organisation Fredrich Ebert Stiftung (FES). My mother, in the UK for a TESOL (teachers of English to speakers of other languages) conference, was due back Friday afternoon. We were to cross each other in the skies. Her flight was of course cancelled. Continue reading

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