Family members of those stuck on Costa Concordia, eagerly waiting to greet their loved ones, tell MiD DAY how they suffered in the past 6 days, as tears and prayers flowed free on sleepless nights

On a warm, breezy Thursday afternoon, a handful of people were spotted offering prayers at a local church in Vasai Gaon at regular intervals, requesting the Lord for a safe landing of their loved ones who were rescued from the ill-fated cruise ship Costa Concordia. The cruise liner had run aground off Italy's coast last Saturday.

God's grace: Oscar's parents are happy that their son is alive and had
called them from somebody's mobile phone after the disaster

"Lois called me on Wednesday and said that he would be coming home within two days. Nothing can pacify me unless I see my son's face," said a teary-eyed Veronica Da Cunha, mother of Lois Da Cunha, one of the crewmembers, who was on board when tragedy struck Costa Concordia.

The Da Cunhas have planned a grand welcome for the young lad who escaped from the clutches of death. Other than the celebrations, Veronica has purchased a gift for her son, one of his favourites. However, she is in a quandary as to how Lois will react to it.

Sunita Mhatre, mother of Parvesh Mhatre, who had spent sleepless night since Saturday, said, "We had been living a nightmare since we got the news. All this while, we had been praying for our son's safety and the God answered our prayers."

Though the locals appeared relieved and happy on outside, a look into their eyes revealed the pain and uncertainty that had been haunting them ever since they heard about Concordia tragedy.

"We were told that survivors are in bad shape as they didn't get fresh clothes for two days and had to spend nights in wet apparels," aggrieved a local.

Commenting on her son Oscar Gladiolus' return, his grief-struck mother said, "Our neighbour informed us about the disaster. We had spoken to him a day prior to the tragedy. Fortunately, he is alive and had called us from somebody's mobile phone. We spoke for two minutes."