Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Indian grandparents stranded in Dubai airport for 3 weeks adjust to new reality

A pair of grandparents who have been stranded at Dubai International Airport for more than three weeks say they remain hopeful the Indian government will repatriate them.

The couple, Amal Kumar and Tripti Mandal, were transiting in Dubai when a storm delayed their flight. Soon after, their home country of India announced a lockdown and suspended all domestic and international flights.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended the lockdown until May 3 to stop the spread of coronavirus within the world's second largest population.

On day 24 inside Dubai airport, Mr Mandal, 75, told The National he has accepted his new reality and overcome being “mentally upset” as he was the first few days.

“Every day I think 'we will go home tomorrow' but my mind has had to adjust to the situation,” said Mr Mandal, who has been living in a hotel airport with his wife since March 21.

“I do want to go home but for now I know there is no alternative but to stay here.”

He holds on to hope that special flights will be arranged to take them to their home town of Vadodara, also known as Baroda, in western India.

The couple had been on their way home after visiting family in Sydney.
“If you ask me if I’m OK, I have to say ‘yes’,” said Mr Mandal, who is diabetic but has enough medication.

“But I do want to go home because living like this is difficult at my age. I cannot think up to May. If our luck permits, I hope there will be some permission granted for us to go back.”
Ms Mandal, 73, has been praying daily and takes comfort chatting with her granddaughters in Australia.
14/04/20 Ramola Talwar Badam/National
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