Ruby Bhandari has a business to run in North Texas, and many other responsibilities to tend to. However, it’s only a temporary distraction from what’s happening thousands of miles away.
COVID-19 cases in India are out of control and the situation is bad. There’s no way to sugarcoat it.
“My entire family is in India,” Bhandari said. “I have never heard desperation like I’ve heard from my friends and family now.”
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Bhandari said she felt helpless -- a feeling heightened because a summer trip to India with her husband and children is now cancelled. She said their families were staying indoors as much as possible, and not even opening their front or back doors unless it was absolutely necessary.
She said she was just there in February. In her words, it “seemed like COVID was going away.” Now, the conditions are so dire her mother-in-law can’t get into the hospital after a stroke.
“She is at home with an oxygen machine, the drip and everything actually in her home because no one can go in and out,” Bhandari said.
The situation in India has been called catastrophic. The coronavirus is sweeping the country, pushing hospital and health care workers to the brink. The U.S. is sending aid in the form of vaccines and personal protective equipment. Even with federal commitments for aid and local organizations working overtime to send help, friends and family said it’s not enough.
“You pick up the phone and call a family member,” Bhandari said. “They’re frustrated, they’re angry, they’re upset, they’re desperate.”
She said the distraction of managing her dress shop in Carrollton was a saving grace from the emotional toll the pandemic is taking just beneath the surface.
“I do know that when we go back, there are going to be some friends and family that won’t be present anymore,” Bhandari said.
Nearly half a million Indian Americans live in Texas. According to the Migration Policy Institute, Dallas-Fort Worth is one of the top metropolitan destinations for Indian-born immigrants. For more information on local efforts to help India visit http://www.iant.org/.