To parents, with love

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On Parents Day, youngsters living away from home, share how much they miss their parents and how they can’t wait to be with them again once the pandemic eases off

CHRISTINE MACHADO 

They get on our nerves with their constant reminders to drink more water, eat healthier, and their dozen phone calls to check up on us daily. Yet, most of us would probably be lost without the unfailing love of our parents.

And when we move away from home, whether for higher studies or for work, we begin to miss even the little things about them, and wait eagerly to see them again.

But for many living away from home, the ongoing pandemic has curtailed these happy reunions.

“It feels terrible to be away from home at a time like this,” says Noah D’Silva, who is working in Bengaluru. Having moved there two years ago, D’Silva was used to making the trip back home every four or six months, but decided not to take the risk of travelling during the pandemic and unintentionally put others in danger. But not being able to go home is tough. “Earlier, I could just hop on a bus and be in Goa in the morning. But now there’s a lot of restrictions and you never really know when the next lockdown will be,” he says.

Given that most parents are also at a higher risk, if infected, and being unable to be there in person to ensure their safety, also plays on his mind. “I worry a lot and I always keep a check on how they are feeling, telling them to stay home and not to move out,” he says.

What helps the most, is his mother’s constant checking in. “She keeps telling me to take vitamin C, do salt water gargles and steam inhalation,” he says with a smile.

Raunaq Luis Fernandes who is also working in Bengaluru admits that it gets lonely sometimes as he cannot meet friends on the weekends now. “Initially, I did want to get back home but I did not make my plans soon as I assumed the COVID scare would pass quickly. Later, I decided that it would be better to hold on rather than risk exposure to the virus,” he says.

But the concern for his family remains. “My mother takes care of herself. She’s always making home remedies and herbal teas to increase everyone’s immunity. But my father keeps going out, either to the market or to work, and it worries me that he’s not being safe,” he admits. What comforts him is knowing that his sisters are at home and will look after his parents.

The missing is harder for those living in different countries too.

“We got hit fairly quickly and the increase in cases and death rates per day was sky high. Initially the uncertainty and lack of information about the issue was stressful,” says Kim Araujo, who along with her brother is working in London. “I can say we were more worried about papa and mama than about ourselves,” she says. And this is why they chose to stay put, despite the situation escalating all around. The good part though, she says, is that they have gotten closer as a family during the pandemic. “Work and the time difference can make communication difficult sometimes, but because of the lockdown we had so much more time to speak with each other,” she says. But the siblings still worry for their well-being. “My parents are both working these days so it’s stressful. I think the best they’re doing is being responsible by staying at home when they can,” she says.

For Wynzel Rebello, the pandemic has made her homesickness episodes worse. “I worry about when I’ll be able to see them next, how they are coping with things,” she says. Rebello usually tries to come home twice a year, but the pandemic has so far disrupted her plans. “I usually book tickets to go home for Christmas in July as the tickets are more affordable. But the prices are really high now. I’m honestly hoping, fingers crossed, that I get to be with them for Christmas,” she says. In the meantime, she is treasuring the little efforts her parents are putting in to make her feel better. “I’m proud of my dad as he made the effort to use WhatsApp to connect with his daughters during this time. He usually isn’t very tech-savvy. Nothing makes my heart happier than hearing his voice,” she says. “My mum meanwhile has a super natural way of using her voice to calm me down.”

And, she adds, she is “super grateful everyday” to have such amazing parents. “Raising four ambitious girls doesn’t seem like an easy task,” she says. “But they take it in their stride and support our decisions. Love you mum and dad!”

Elroy Fernandes who works in Aberdeen, Scotland, also flies down to Goa at least once a year. Being away at this time has been challenging. “There’s nothing like the feeling of comfort and safety of being under your parent’s roof. In the past, I’ve fallen ill countless times and it wasn’t the trip to the doctor that comforted me but my mother’s mere presence and assurance that everything is going to be fine while running her hand on my forehead,” he says fondly.

Although they keep in touch often, Fernandes hopes to fly home soon and “hug them a little tighter this time around”. “I wish I could hold you’ll and give you’ll the same kind of assurance that you guys gave me and let you know that everything will be fine and this too shall pass,” he says in a personal message to his parents. “I miss you’ll and your favourite child will come home as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, Marise Barbosa Noronha, who is studying in London, was supposed to come to Goa in April. “I had my tickets booked, but the lockdown started and everything went haywire,” she says. Being away from home at this time is a very uneasy feeling, she confesses. “When you read the news which says how the cases are increasing by the day in your hometown, one can’t help but imagine the worst,” she says.

But what helps, is the knowledge that her parents are very level headed. “I told them to trust me that I won’t put myself in danger while I’m here and this assurance itself goes a long way, mentally. I think if you keep thinking negatively it affects you more than the virus,” she says.

In fact, in May, Noronha made a short film titled ‘Dear Mom’, as a tribute to her mother. It tells the story about a girl who has gone to a foreign country for studies and how she begins to miss the small things about her mother. “I know you worry about me and my safety all the time no matter how much I tell you not to,” she says in her message to her parents. “I can’t wait to be back and go for our usual Sunday breakfast at City Cafe and watch random movies on TV. Until then, big hugs and be safe,” she says.