Indo Asian News Service
With their stay getting extended in Srinagar due to unavailability of chartered flights from the valley, Real Kashmir FC coach David Robertson is losing sleep thinking about his ailing mother back in Scotland and how he has never felt so helpless before.
The British government has decided to organise special charter flights for airlifting its citizens stranded in India from Wednesday onwards.
But that hasn’t helped Robertson, his wife Kym, son and player Mason, along with midfielder Kallum Higginbotham and members of the support staff, James Lindsay and Jonathan Craig, who are stuck in Srinagar due to the nationwide lockdown as the British government has decided to organise flights only from Goa (April 8, 10 and 12), Mumbai and New Delhi (April 9 and 11).
Robertson’s mother, Muriel, is a cancer patient and is undergoing chemotherapy in Aberdeen, Scotland. She has her husband and Robertson’s father, Leslie and two grandchildren, Chelsea and Jordan by her side.
“She is getting her scans done, undergoing chemotherapy. She is 77. Her condition is quite severe. We have two of our children (Chelsea and Jordan) who are taking care of her. My concern is, I am miles and miles away and whatever the situation, I have no chance of getting there,” Robertson told IANS from Srinagar on Monday.
They are staying in Real Kashmir co-owner, Sandeep Chattoo’s hotel in Srinagar. Besides the UK nationals, skipper Loveday Enyinnaya, Aaron Katebe, Bazie Armand, Gnohere Krizo are the four Africans who are also stuck.
“Me and my wife have always been a day away, a flight away or five minutes away from mom and dad. But now I am thousands of miles away and there is no way I can get to them how much I want to. That is what really concerns me the most,” said the 51-year old.
“With suspension of international and domestic flights, we didn’t get enough time to go out (of Srinagar),” he said.
“It takes fair bit of time to get a flight from Srinagar to Delhi, we just did not have enough time. It was closed very quickly. For us, we tried everything. We contacted the UK government. They tried to help us but we know that during these times, so many other British people are also stranded.
“We got automated responses of emails like everybody gets. All the borders are closed so we can’t go to Delhi by road. The hard part is getting from Srinagar to Delhi as we have to get past borders and they are closed off. We are just waiting to see what happens.”
The lockdown is slated to end on April 14, and Robertson hopes they can catch a flight to Delhi and travel back home from the national capital.
“I don’t know what will happen. They might continue the lockdown. When domestic flights start, we might go to Delhi. But all that is not sure as we really don’t know how that works. We have to try and get to Delhi somehow.”
At present Robertson and his family and players don’t have much to do at the hotel in Srinagar and he said every minute feels like a day, adding that they don’t even talk about football as their minds are back home.
“We don’t even talk about football these days. We want to get home desperately. Every minute feels like an hour. We try and sleep as much as we can. Real Kashmir are looking after us really well. We are safe. But we really can’t stop worrying about our loved ones,” he concluded.
The coronavirus, which has brought all sporting activities to a grinding halt, has so far claimed more than 100 lives while infecting over 4000 people across the country.
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