Tour organiser H.N. Umesha shares his experience with SoM
Mysuru: Fourteen members of a family of five Geologists who were on a tour of Sri Lanka and escaped the deadly bomb attack on Apr.21, returned safely to the city last night. It was a providential escape for them as they suddenly took a decision to move from Colombo where they had landed on Apr.19 and instead see other tourist places before returning to Colombo for shopping and flying out on Apr.24.
Speaking to Star of Mysore here this morning, tour organiser H.N. Umesha said that they were a team of five geologists who toured to different parts of the country or abroad every year and this year they planned a trip to Sri Lanka.
“As soon as we landed in Colombo on Apr.19, we realised that there was nothing much to see there and hence first decided to visit the tourist places like Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Bentota where we stayed in Hibiscus Resort. We never realised that Colombo and others parts of Sri Lanka had been bombed as there was no internet connection where we were travelling. We came to know about it only on Sunday evening when friends sent us WhatsApp messages,” he said.
Realising the gravity of the situation they wanted to fly back on Apr.23 itself but since no flights were available, they were forced to stick to the original schedule and fly out on Apr.24 at the scheduled time.
“All the five of us, M.V. Ravishankar (BJP leader), K.V. Vedamurthy, Channabasappa Basavaraju, Ranganatha and myself are geologists. Basically we are water diviners taking up government contracts as also private ones. I am the tour organiser and we go on holidays every year with families and at other times just the five of us go. Last year we had visited Andaman and Nicobar Islands, earlier to that we had gone to Dubai, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand,” said Umesha.
Asked if this experience will deter them from going on future trips, he said, “I told my group, look this kind of an experience could happen anywhere even in Bengaluru or own city Mysuru. We must not be affected by this experience but continue to travel.”
The last day on their way back to Mysuru they visited Colombo.
“We had booked in a hotel just 300 metres from Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo where the bomb blasts took place. While returning yesterday, we just drove past the hotel and the church where there was maximum damage and people killed. We could only watch it from a distance as it was completely cordoned off,” he said.
They took the 6.45 pm Sri Lankan Airline flight back to Bengaluru yesterday and landed at 8.15 pm at the Kempegowda International Airport and then drove to Mysuru, reaching home safely.