Even as images of destruction and annihilation flash on our smartphones and screens, Syrians living in the Capital are keeping a close watch on the happenings back home.
Khirki Extension of Malviya Nagar is home to many Afghans, Somalians and Syrians, who are living here and doing odd jobs for a living.
A Syrian native, who works as a manager in a Syrian restaurant, told Patriot, “I have friends living in Syria and by God’s grace, everyone I know is safe. But I am told the situation is horrific. There’s death and devastation everywhere. People’s lives have been destroyed and they have to start from scratch.”
The restaurant manager says he will ask his employer to let him set up a small donation box in the restaurant so that people can chip in and some significant amount can be collected.
His friend and colleague, however, has lost his home.
“I have lost my home and even if I wanted to go back I can’t. Everything is destroyed. I was saving up from the last six months, my family and I were planning to visit home but that won’t be possible,” said the colleague, who like the manager did not want to be named.
“I had come to Delhi for studies. I decided to stay here for a better life and after years of hard work, have just about managed to achieve a good lifestyle and savings. I wanted to visit Syria once and see how it goes, but I guess I’ll have to wait for another five to ten years.”
Another Syrian living in the neighbourhood complains that while there is a lot of noise about Turkey, not many people are talking about Syria.
He says that if his situation here were better, he would’ve asked his family to come and stay here.
“Considering the situation back in Syria, we would’ve asked our loved ones to come and stay with us here only if we had a stable roof and life here. I’ve been planning to visit the Syrian embassy to know more about how I can contribute but I’ve been busy with work. I’ll surely visit and try to help according to my capacity,” he said.
“We’re in small numbers here but we’ll get together and help with cash, commodities, clothes and blankets.”
There are many Syrians, who have come here to study.
Ovais, who belongs to Latakia city of Syria is pursuing masters’ degree in nursing from Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi. He came to India in 2018 to study. Nowadays though, he is sometimes unable to talk to his family.
“Ninety percent of the buildings have collapsed in our city. There is no electricity there. So many times, I am unable to call my family. The Situation is not good there,” said Ovais.
Ovais is also working as a volunteer in the Syrian embassy.
“However, my whole family is safe thankfully,” he said.
(With inputs from Muhammad Tahir)