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Anxious times for Indian parents with kids in US, Europe as COVID-19 rages on

Technology is a godsend for them. Parents are now using Facetime and WhatsApp calls to give instructions and get briefings on a daily basis.

Published: 11th April 2020 02:01 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th April 2020 02:01 PM   |  A+A-

In this Monday, March 9, 2020 file photo, a man wears a mask as he walks past the New York Stock Exchange, amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

In this Monday, March 9, 2020 file photo, a man wears a mask as he walks past the New York Stock Exchange, amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Almost everyone seems to be on edge due to the raging outbreak of COVID-19 and the daily toll it is taking. One section having a particularly hard time is parents whose children are studying or working abroad. With TV screens and Twitter flashing news round the clock on the impact of COVID-19 abroad, particularly in Europe and the US, many of them are feeling jittery.

Technology is a godsend for them. Parents are now using Facetime and WhatsApp calls to give instructions and get briefings on a daily basis. The New Indian Express spoke to a cross-section of parents across Bengaluru to get a peek into their mindset.

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Hebbal based real estate developer K R Jayachandran’s son Karthik has just completed his Masters in Photography from SPEOS School of Photography in France and landed a part-time job at a studio he interned. There were no plans for him to return to India presently since vacations are only in August.  

“We never knew it was so serious initially. By the time we decided it was better to bring him back, it was too late. There are no direct flights from France to Bengaluru. Special flights would reach Delhi and he would be quarantined there as soon as he returns for 14 days. After much consultation with our travel agent and discussion with him, we have decided there is no point in him coming home now,” he said.

He added they were anxious like any other parent would be with a son in such a situation. “We are checking on him often through Skype,” he added.

Renuka Gowda’s son (her name changed on request) is employed in Munich and she fears every day for his life. “I am always glued to the TV watching German news channels and I call my son thrice each day to remind him frequently to stay safe. That is the most important job I do now. He works in the R&D section of a top firm which has refused to even temporarily shut shop due to the virus. I am constantly worried,” she says.  

A senior railway official’s son is presently studying in Spain. “I am okay but my wife is definitely worried due to the heavy impact of the coronavirus there.”

Some like Nandakumar, who runs a watch business, are quite composed. “My son will complete his B.S in Mechanical Engineering at a university in Indianapolis in the US in just one more month. Indianapolis is relatively safe compared to other parts there. But we have advised him not to step out and not to order any food from outside,” he said.



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