This 95-yr-old Woman Waited Calmly in her Hut as Cyclone Fani Struck before Neighours Rescued Her
A few minutes after she was brought out, much of Debi’s mud hut was blown away. What remains now is the front part of the house made of stone slabs.
Photo of 95-year-old Parbati Debi.
Puri: Parbati Debi is a frail, but surprisingly vivacious and optimistic 95-year-old woman.
When cyclone Fani violently shook her modest mud hut, she did not think she would perish.
She came out unharmed and armed with another tale to tell about yet another cyclone, thanks to a bunch of her neighbours who brought her out to safety.
“I was not afraid. I knew that another cyclone is coming to Odisha. I could see that my hut was shaking severely and the noise of the winds was deafening. I wanted to get out, but waited with patience when the bolt of the door did not open,” said Debi, a resident of Srimukundapur village, about 40km off Puri town.
Puri was the worst hit as the cyclone had made the landfall near the famous beach town.
Debi, who has witnessed dozens of cyclones during her long life in this village close to the Bay of Bengal coast, was only “a little nervous” when the metal roof of her hut was blown away. Minutes later, a few of her concerned neighbours rushed in.
“We called her aloud and asked her to open the door and come out, but she just did not answer. She was unable to hear us, due to the huge noise of the winds. So we broke open the door and brought her out,” said Bulu Mishra, one of the villagers who rescued her from the hut.
A few minutes after she was brought out, much of Debi’s hut was blown away. What remains now is the front part of the house made of stone slabs.
“I am grateful to these young men for bringing me out to safety. I have been living alone in this house. I have no idea about my children,” said Debi.
“Just like I am worried about them, they must be worried about me too. We have no way of contacting them as all telephone lines are down ever since the cyclone happened,” she added.
Debi’s three sons and two daughters live in Bhubaneswar and Puri. They are all working and sometimes, pay her a visit in the village.
“They wanted me to stay with them in their towns, but I never liked the idea of leaving my village,” said Debi, who lost her husband some 20 years ago.
At 95, she still cooks her own food and washes her own clothes. Ever since Cyclone Fani struct, she has been living in the house of one Bulu Mishra, who works at a private firm.
“While most people as old as her would have died of a heart attack simply by hearing the frightening sound of the cyclone, she remained calm,” said Umakanta Behera, another villager who had gone inside Debi’s hut on May 3.
“She is a nice old woman and never thinks of harming anyone,” added Behera, who runs an egg shop nearby.
Kuna Barik, a local barber, said villagers were trying to contact Debi’s sons and daughters.
(With inputs from Sumanta Sundaray)
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