On Sunday, K Vijaya Kumar, working as an electrician in Dubai for the last two decades, learnt that his wife Geetha had died of a cardiac arrest back home — at Kollangod village in Kerala’s Palakkad district.
Since then, Kumar has been waiting at Dubai airport, looking for anyone without a pressing need to return home to cancel her/his ticket so that he can fly home and bid his wife goodbye.
Each day, for the last three days, he returns to the labour camp “with a broken heart”.
It seems unlikely the 48-year-old’s schedule will change before next Sunday.
On Wednesday, Kumar said he has been informed by Air India that his turn would come on May 17.
“I want to be home to bid adieu to Geetha. Her body has been moved to a morgue since my arrival was delayed,” Kumar said.
“Soon after I heard about her death, I have been knocking the doors of the Indian Embassy, calling up political leaders and mailing requests to government offices to allot me a seat (on a flight back home).”
Several expatriates’ organisations have also tried to help him, he said. But without success.
With several flights being operated from the UAE to Kerala as part of the government’s evacuation process on the middle of the Covid-19 crisis, “I am ready to fly to any airport in Kerala, or even to airports in neighbouring states,” Kumar said. “If someone who has not so urgent a need to return to Kerala cancels the ticket, I can take it. I have pleaded with many.”
But without success.
At Kollangod, Kumar’s family has moved 44-year-old Geetha’s body to mortuary. “A test ruled out chances of Covid-19. We decided to delay cremation until Kumar returns,” Kollangod panchayat member R Vijayakumaran said.
Back in Dubai, Kumar said Air India has informed him that he has been allotted a seat on a Kochi flight on May 17.
“I am waiting for that day,’’ he said.