Nihar Pandya and his wife Neeti Mohan had a providential escape from the Corona-hit Australia just before all the airports were shut and travel back to India was impossible.
Nihar, who is in quarantine at a farm in Umbergaon, Gujarat, still can’t believe his luck. “One more day in Australia and we’d have been stuck in Australia indefinitely. My wife Neeti Mohan and I and my sisters-in-law Mukti and Shakti were in Australia to attend the Women’s T20 Cricket World Cup in Melbourne. After that, we were to stay in Australia for a holiday until 17 March.”
But then the Coronavirus broke out.
Says Nihar, “I got a call from my brother in Mumbai. He said we had two choices. Either we came back immediately or I’d remain in Australia, get a job, and my wife could do her singing there. Of course, we fled. We were at the Gold Coast. We drove down to Brisbane to catch our flight back to Mumbai. The airport was completely deserted. The next day, March 14, all the airports in Australia were shut down.”
Once in Mumbai, Nihar his wife and two sisters-in-law drove straight to their farm in Umbergaon. “This was just before the borders were sealed. We are in Umbergaon now. Our period of quarantine is over. But we’ll stay here. We are relatively safer than our folks in Mumbai. We don’t have to go out to buy vegetables. We grow them right here on the farm. We don’t know how long we are going to be here. But we wish our parents were with us. Right now the whole of Mumbai city feels quarantined. I just hope and pray this will be over soon.”