The on-going discussions about opening up Mumbai and Delhi airports to repatriate Indians from different parts of the world have spelt good news for filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and his wife, film editor PS Bharathi. The couple, currently stationed at their home in a village in Kale, Maharashtra, is hoping that their 21-year-old daughter Bhairavi will soon be home.
Talking about it, Rakeysh says, “We would love her to return home but only once the airports are safe and the government approves. Bhairavi is all by herself in the US, and we’re here. Even when the semester begins, it will be e-learning sessions, which can be taken from anywhere. Their circulars have already come in.”
Back in March, before the national lockdown set in, several families had managed to bring their loved ones home from foreign countries. Bring this up and the filmmaker says, “It’s not like we didn’t want to do that but we didn’t bring her back for her own safety. The airports at that time were unsafe; in fact, a lot of contamination unknowingly has spread from airports around the world. It was wiser for her to stay back in the US and stay indoors. The situation is different today — we have experience and we probably can handle things better.”
When asked how his daughter is holding up, Rakeysh says, “Left to me, I would have taken the first flight out to bring her back. Today, Bharathi and I feel proud of the way she has handled things, like a mature adult. I would credit my wife for making her such a strong individual. She’s learned important life lessons early in her life. A part of me is very concerned about her and a part is proud that she’s fending for herself. Her friends and she were staying in the campus initially. Gradually, it emptied and only had the international students staying in. Three of her friends and she rented a flat on their own, are cooking together, and staying put. Before the lockdown, she was even doing a part-time job as a librarian while working on her thesis. She’s paid for her upkeep there, making Bharathi and me really proud of her. Thanks to video-calling, we interact with her every day. That is reassuring.”