Mumbai News

Mumbai: Russian national taken in by Ganesh pandal leaves for her hometown – The Indian Express

Written by Mohamed Thaver
| Mumbai |

Published: August 26, 2020 4:04:34 am

Marina Biryukova, the 35-year-old Russian woman, left for her country after 17 days at the pandal.

With the parting gift of a coconut and a shawl, a Ganesh pandal in Andheri bid goodbye to a new found friend from Russia on Tuesday after taking care of her for over two weeks.

Marina Biryukova, the 35-year-old Russian woman, left for her country after 17 days at the pandal, which sheltered her after she was found in a dishevelled state on the road at Saki Naka with injury marks all over her body.

Prashant Maurya, director of the Kherani Cha Raja Pandal at Saki Naka in Andheri, said Marina, who had started addressing him as “Big Boss”, told The Indian Express that the Russian Consulate had arranged for her to fly to her hometown Nakhodka in Russia from Goa on Wednesday.

“We gave her a shawl and a coconut as a token of Indian culture. She would call me Big Boss as I head the pandal. She would come to the office cabin and insist on sitting on the chair reserved for me. We really liked the fact that she would unhesitatingly tell us whatever she felt like doing,” Maurya said.

Marina, who had been diagnosed as having a neurological disorder, quickly made friends with the people looking after the pandal. “Initially she would have the food that Anastasia, a Russian national in the city, got for her. But she really took a liking for samosa. One night she woke up and asked for a samosa. I looked up online and found that an outlet was selling it and ordered for it. She was delighted,” Maurya said.

He added that she would ask them what a particular thing was called in Hindi and would tell them the Russian word for it. “We did learn some Russian during the time she was here. She became really friendly with those at the pandal who would wish her ‘good morning’, ‘good evening’ whenever they saw her. She loved talking about her son and told us he was learning martial arts. Everyone was so used to having her around the pandal that now we are going to miss her,” he said.

Anastasia Sinha Roy, who came to know about Marina’s condition through a Facebook group for Russians in Mumbai, soon reached out to her. “As I live in Powai, the pandal is quite near to my place. After I saw the post I reached out. The first thing one misses in a foreign land is homemade food. I then started making Russian salad for her,” she said. Roy added, “Those at the pandal who helped her are such awesome people. They had such purity in their hearts to help someone out in this manner.”

She added that based on the conversation she had with Marina, she had come to India with friends. While her friends had left, she stayed back before lockdown came into effect. Roy said, “When I last met her, and bid her farewell, she told me that she would return to India someday. The good part is she did not see the entire episode as a horror story but as a nice time when she made several friends at the pandal.”

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