LUCKNOW: Lessons learnt on earthquake safety through a popular cartoon show helped six-year-old Mustafa protect himself when the five-storey Alaya Apartments suddenly collapsed on Tuesday evening. Mustafa, who is among 14 survivors, is currently under treatment at the SPM Civil Hospital and is said to be out of danger.
Unfortunately, his mother, Uzma Haider, and grandmother, Begum Haider, could not be saved. Recalling the incident, Mustafa told TOI that he was watching television when the building shook suddenly. “Earlier in the day, when light tremors were felt in the city, I was reminded about the dos and don’ts during an earthquake.
I thought that another round of tremor had hit the city,” he said. “I was terrified but I recalled an episode of the cartoon show ‘Doraemon’ in which Nobita (the central character of the series) was taught about protecting himself during an earthquake by taking shelter in corners or under the bed.
Without wasting a second, I took shelter under the bed,” Mustafa recalled. “I saw mummy running and screaming. Within no time, the entire building collapsed and everything became dark,” he said.
Mustafa’s father Abbas Haidar, who is a Samajwadi Party spokesperson, was not in the house at the time of the incident, while his grandfather, Amir Haidar, a veteran Congress leader, survived the incident.
Incidentally, the family had celebrated the golden jubilee wedding anniversary of Mustafa’s grandparents on Monday. While the boy survived the incident with minor injuries and was not told about his mother’s demise till the TOI interviewed him, his grandfather, who is undergoing treatment in another room of SPM Civil Hospital, was in deep shock and was unable to say anything.
Mustafa’s uncle Zeeshan Haider and father Abbas Haider, were inconsolable. Condolence messages for the victims kept pouring in throughout the day on social media and remained the top trend under #Lucknow.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav tweeted: “Extremely saddened by the demise of Begum Haider ji and wife Uzma Abbas ji, mother of Samajwadi Party spokesperson Abbas Haider. May God give peace to the departed souls. Deepest condolences to the bereaved family. Heartfelt tribute.”

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