Sunday, 17 May , 2020     |     725      |      +      |     

Twice stranded: Then in 1990 Kuwait, now in COVID-hit India

Twice stranded: Then in 1990 Kuwait, now in COVID-hit India : Google
  • Coronavirus

The Covid-induced lockdown is giving Ajay Kumar, a native of Kottayam district, a sense of deja vu.

Ajay was among nearly 1.7 lakh Indian expatriates who were stranded (and later evacuated by the Indian government) in Kuwait following the invasion of Iraq in 1990.


Now, nearly three decades later, Ajay is stranded again.

This time at his home in Changanassery for over a month after India barred all international commercial passenger flights from March 22 following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I came to Kerala on March 2 to see my ailing mother-in-law. She passed away on March 5. My tickets were for March 22, but the sudden stoppage of international flights has left me stranded here,” Ajay, who works as a financial controller in a food supplier firm in the hospitality sector in Bahrain.

Though the national carriers Air India and Air India Express have announced an evacuation plan (the second phase from Saturday will see return flights to West Asia), Ajay said he would wait till Gulf Air begins operations. “I had some important works to complete and now I am doing them from here in Kerala,” he said.

Back in August 1990, Ajay had booked tickets to Kerala for his marriage, scheduled for August 16 at Mavelikkara Sri Krishna Swamy temple. “The Iraqi invasion happened suddenly and Kuwait International Hotel (Hilton) where I was working was converted into a military office,” he said.  The Iraq Bank governor, military general and other top officers were based at the hotel post the invasion, he said. “We were completely in the dark on when and where our evacuation to India will happen,” Ajay said.

That was when Kuwait resident and Keralite Toyota Sunny (Mathunny Mathews) offered to help in the evacuation process. “We were taken to the Iraq-Kuwait border. A sea of people had gathered at the ‘no man’s land’ between Iraq and Jordan. We got into a vehicle to the base camp some 10-15 km away by paying something like 4,000 dinars,” he reminisced.

From there, they were shifted to the next camp at Jordan, where Indians were asked to form groups of 42 persons each. “Back home, my family had no information if we were alive or not. There was no information about us, whatsoever,” he said.

To cut a long story short, Ajay finally got into the evacuation flight long after the marriage date of August 16. “Though the marriage was postponed, I married the same girl later in December the same year,” he said. The couple has two daughters – one married and doing her higher studies in Germany, while the younger one has completed her medicine.

As Ajay gets ready to fly off to Bahrain when the international commercial passenger flights’ services begin, is he worried about the reported fast spread of coronavirus in West Asia?  “I don’t have any worries about the COVID spread in the Gulf. I think, we have to learn to live with the virus,” he said.

Kuwait Today Business Subscription

Keywords:
Category: #Coronavirus, #Kuwait News | 2020/05/17 latest update at 7:00 PM
Source : New Indian Express | Photocredit : Google
726
Comments Add comment

Latest Comments


  
  LinkedIn Gulf Media

Sponsored Publications


Related Articles

The editorial staff of Kuwait Media would like to give all of its readers from Gulf and Kuwait and the whole world the opportunity to participate actively in the development of the website! If you have something interesting, fun, scandalous - just something worth to be seen from more people. Capture it and share it in the Kuwait Today with a short text.

Do you have information you want to reach our readers?

Send article/s

You can subscribe to our Facebook, Twitter and Google pages or use our RSS feed channel to always read the most important news about Kuwait, the Gulf and the world.


Latest searches in Kuwait Today