Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Toddler stranded in India finally reunited with family

When strangers reach out with a helping hand.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

When Greeshma Patel sent her toddler Prisha to stay with family in Gujarat, she did not foresee that she would not get to see her daughter for an entire year.

In August 2019, young Prisha was sent to live with her grandparents in Gujarat shortly after Greeshma had her second child. Prisha’s much-awaited return was planned for the end of March 2020 for the family to be together once again. Unfortunately, border closures wreaked havoc on all their plans.

- Advertisement -

Greeshma was able to reunite with her daughter at last only through the kindness of strangers.

“I had applied 5 times for my parents’ exemption (to come to Australia) but they said I have to nominate only one person. I didn’t want to separate my parents, so I started to look for another way,” the anxious Greeshma told Indian Link.

There were repatriation flights and all kinds of permits to take into consideration, and it was an ordeal to be separated from her two-year-old. How could Prisha be brought back home?

Through a Facebook group, the mother from Port Lincoln, Adelaide was able to connect with newly married couple Neha Soni and Sailesh Thorat, who were travelling back to Australia from India.

“I explained my situation to them before I got a chance to talk to them. They then video called us, and we discussed requirements such as all the relevant documentation,” she said. To Greeshma, the couple were the only source of hope at finally being reunited with her toddler.

brisbane couple
Neha Soni and Sailesh Thorat.

The newlyweds Neha and Sailesh had only recently gotten married in Brisbane in January. Shortly after, Neha travelled to India to visit her parents in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh – and found herself stuck there since February.

Her husband Sailesh joined her there later. “I managed to fly to India on 20th March 2020. The very next day, Australia imposed a travel ban,” he reported.

After trying to arrange tickets back to Australia, and getting to know about the Patels’ situation, the newlyweds travelled to Delhi. They met Prisha, accompanied by her grandparents, at the Radisson Blu Hotel.

“We were amazed when Prisha hugged Neha tightly at this first meeting,” recalled Sailesh. “She even bid adieu to her grandma and grandad at the hotel, saying, ‘Plane maa jaaau che, uncle aunty ke saaath! (I’m going on the plane with Uncle and Aunty!)’”

It wasn’t an easy flight, but it was smooth sailing compared to the uncertain wait they had all left behind.

When their flight finally landed in Adelaide, it was a big relief for everyone involved. Welcomed warmly at the airport, Neha and Sailesh had not realised until then that their little act of kindness was something really special.

They were thrilled to see Prisha rush towards her mother, whom she hadn’t seen for a whole year, to hug her tightly at the airport gate.

“It was something that we will never forget,” Sailesh said with a smile. “It’s important to do our bit in these troubled times.”

Mother Greeshma is currently in quarantine with Prisha at the Pullman Hotel.

To her, this experience of empathy and compassion from complete strangers is certainly one she’ll always remember.

READ ALSO: When your kids, 11 and 9, are stranded in locked down India

- Advertisement -

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Ep8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s life

To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...

Ep 6: The Indian LGBTQ+ community in 2020

  It’s been two years since the world’s largest democracy repealed the draconian Section 377 which used to allow discrimination against homosexual people. Only this...

Latest News

kamala's way biography by dan moraine

Book Review: ‘Kamala’s Way’ by Dan Morain

  Just how did the daughter of two immigrants in segregated California became one of this countrys most effective power players? Through the human touch,...
farmers protest, delhi, red fort, flags

Farmers rage in Delhi on Republic Day

  On the morning of Republic Day, farmers were warmly welcomed in Delhi. As pictured below, tractors and cars carrying groups of protesters were showered...
Jeet Ki Zid movie poster

Review: Jeet Ki Zid (Zee5)

  It's easy to like Jeet Ki Zid. The show talks of patriotism and valour, it celebrates will power to triumph against all odds. Importantly,...
Dr anand naidoo OAM and family

Australia Day Awards 2021: Dr Anand Naidoo OAM

  "I am pleased and honoured," Dr Anand Naidoo of Coffs Harbour NSW told Indian Link, about his Australia Day felicitation this year. He added laughingly,...

Australia Day Awards 2021: The late Dr Amarjit Singh More, OAM

  As a proud Sikh and a proud Australian, Dr Amarjit Singh More was deeply passionate about both identities, serving both communities with unwavering commitment. "Our...