//Man returns home in time – before his

Man returns home in time – before his

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

Malappuram (Kerala) – When Mohammed Ashraf returned from Saudi Arabia to his home here, he was shocked and surprised: his relatives were preparing for his funeral, thanks to officials’ error in identifying an unclaimed body.

The family of the 36-year-old was in shock when it got news from authorities in Lucknow Tuesday that he had passed away and his body would arrive at the Kozhikode airport Thursday afternoon.

However, Ashraf turned up at home Thursday morning – only to find the household in grief. He was shocked to hear his wife cry.

Initially, neither the man nor his family could understand what was happening and it took a while before grievous cries gave way to joyous scenes.

Ashraf’s elder brother M. Gafoor had rushed home from Saudi Arabia after hearing about his brother’s ‘death’.

‘We could not figure out what was happening,’ Gafoor said.

Nine months ago, Ashraf, like thousands of Keralites, reached Saudi Arabia to look for a job. His dream was soon crushed, as his papers were not in order and he found himself cooling his heels in a Jeddah jail.

He was handed an out-pass last week and was put on a flight to Lucknow.

‘Ashraf had called me from the jail last week and said he was returning to India. It seems that after landing in Lucknow, his purse was stolen and it contained his address and all other details.

‘It so happened that the purse was recovered from a dead body and it was mistaken as my brother’s body, leading to all this drama,’ Gafoor told IANS.

Later Thursday, Ashraf reported at the Manjeri police station to clear various formalities.