Saturday, December 10, 2016

Surviving the Brussels bombing

Nidhi Chaphekar’s face is famous—for all the wrong reasons, said
Vidhi Doshi in The Guardian (U.K.). In March, the 41-year-old
Indian cabin-crew manager was in Zaventem airport in Brussels
when a suicide bomber blew himself up. Chaphekar was blown
across the room, her clothes were partly torn off by the blast,
her shoe melted onto her foot, and her face was covered in dust
and blood. A man picked her up and put her on a chair—which
is where she was sitting, stunned, when a photographer took her
picture. Chaphekar spent the next 22 days in a medically induced
coma, while surgeons removed shards of metal fro m all over her
body and grafted skin onto her burned hands and face. When she
woke up, her image had gone viral. “So many pictures were taken
on that day, but somehow only mine was circulated, as it showed
everything—the circumstances, the panic, the trauma.” At first,
Chaphekar was upset. “This picture should have been blurred,
cropped. Some media people put it on the front page. I was worried
somebody would say [to my children]: ‘Look at your mum,
don’t you feel ashamed?’” But people had the opposite response.
“Everybody said: ‘Your mum is so brave. She’s like a tigress.’”

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