Kochi: For the Indian nurses who returned here on Saturday from Iraq, to be back in the comfort of home far removed from bomb explosions nearby, gun-wielding militants and injured patients is like a "rebirth".
The nurses had sleepless nights in the past few days as the situation in strife-torn Tikrit city of Iraq and other nearby areas in Iraq started worsening.
Sona and Veena, twins who returned along with the other nurses, said the sound of shootouts and bomb explosions used to give them sleepless nights and they were scared about their future. They said their safe journey home is a re-birth for them.
"We used to wake up in shock suddently at midnight hearing the shootouts and were scared", the sisters, who reached home at Ettumanoor in Kottyam district, said.
Sona said when they were asked by the militants to leave the hospital on June 3, they were tense as they did not know what to do. The ISIS militants also kept changing the names of the destination they were heading, raising suspicions, they said.
"They had guns and bombs and we got tense", the sisters said.
They said patients with gunshot wounds and bomb injuries were treated by them at the hospital. Inside and outside the hospital compound, there were frequent blasts.
Though most of the nurses and their parents are happy, many of them are also worried about the future. Many nurses hailing from Kannur and Kasaragod districts have taken loans to go to Iraq and the families are wondering about their future, their
Neena, hailing from Thalayolaparambu in Kottayam district, who had called her mother yesterday, wanted her mother to prepare her favourite prawn curry with raw mango. "I am reaching. Please make prawns curry and mango".
Anxious to meet their loved ones, the families of the 46 nurses had begun reaching Kochi airport since early today.
However, the flight, which was to have landed here at 6.40 am, reached around 12pm, a delay of five hours, giving anxious moments to the relatives.
The flight first went to Mumbai after which it landed in Kochi.
"The five-hour delay in the arrival of the flight from the scheduled time is like waiting for somebody for the whole life time", a parent was heard saying with tears.
With the month-long ordeal behind them, the visibly happy girls, some in joyful tears, hugged their parents and friends in an emotional reunion.
They said those who had held them in captivity in Tirkit never misbehaved with them. They also told them them that "you are not our targets".
Some of the nurses wanted the state to create more employment opportunities to them so that they need not migrate to other countries for jobs to earn their livelihood.