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Coronavirus: Death of 10-month-old kid, unpaid leave; Indian expat seeks place on special flight

Khaleej Times 2020-05-22 00:21:19

A UAE-based Indian father, who lost his 10-month-old daughter in a freak accident back home, is desperately awaiting his turn to return to his wife and elder child in Kerala. 

Subin Rajan, a 34-year-old sales executive, and his 57-year-old mother have been relentlessly trying to find two seats on one of the many flights going to India as part of the Vande Bharat Mission.  

The family is mourning the loss of Rajan's younger child Anaswara Subin, who accidentally fell into a well in their hometown in Kollam, Kerala, on March 25. Unfortunately, India went into a nation-wide lockdown on March 24, a day before his baby's death.  

"Since all commercial flights to and from India have been closed, my mother and I have not been able to return home. I have tried every means possible. I had some hope with the start of the repatriation mission, but I feel all my pleas are going to deaf ears," said Rajan.

Rajan's wife Shilpa and their five-year-old child left for India in early March and was under mandatory home quarantine when tragedy struck. "My wife has been diagnosed with clinical depression. She even takes medicines for her condition," explained Rajan.  

According to the bereaved father, Rajan's wife was trying to close the metal grill covering the water well in their home when the baby slipped out of her hands. "Since a curfew was imposed in the state, it took time for people to come to my child's rescue. Only my mother-in-law and the kids were at home at the time," he said.

Since the traumatic accident, Shilpa has slipped deeper into depression and needs psychiatric counselling and medical support. "I want to go back as soon as possible. My wife, child and my aged father, who is 67-years-old, need me to get back home immediately. I need to be with my family right now," said Rajan.  

The Consulate General of India in Dubai had collected Rajan's details via e-mail three days ago. However, the family still awaits a final confirmation on his exact date of travel. "I got a call from the mission asking for my daughter's death certificate. We cannot even apply for one in this current situation," added Rajan.  

Adding to his long list of misfortunes, Rajan has also been placed on unpaid leave from his company. "I have been sitting at home for two months without work and in this state of anguish. It is like living in a nightmare. I am willing to go to any district in Kerala," he said.  

Rajan has made an application for emergency repatriation on the Indian mission's website and has appealed to Norka, the Kerala government NRI welfare body, as well. In the first phase of the repatriation exercise, over 3,000 passengers came in from the Middle East and likewise in the second phase of air evacuation, Air India is operating 25 flights to Kerala.

Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88