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Photos: Indian birthday girl flies stranded mum to Dubai on private jet

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on July 8, 2020 | Last updated on July 8, 2020 at 10.14 pm
Photos, Stranded Indian, flies back, UAE,  private jet, daughters birthday

(Supplied photos)

Suraiya, who is both diabetic and hypertensive, went through a lot during the lockdown in India.

An Indian expat got the perfect birthday gift on Tuesday: Her 56-year-old mother is finally home after being stranded in India since February.

Sadia Rakhange, an employee at the Sharjah Airport International Freezone, moved mountains and got her mom back on a private charter jet on July 7, which also happened to be her birthday.

"My mother travelled back from Mumbai on a charter jet with 12 other passengers, which was organised by Empire Aviation. To my surprise, the company organised cake and flowers which my mom could give me upon landing. I couldn't have asked for a better gift than this," a delighted Sadia told Khaleej Times.

Suraiya Sultan, a long-time Dubai resident, travelled to Mumbai, India, to attend her niece's wedding in February and then she decided to stay until the first week of April. However, with international travel suspended, she got stuck in Mumbai for nearly four months.

Difficult time

Suraiya, who is both diabetic and hypertensive, went through a lot during the lockdown in India. She ended up having to stay all alone in her Andheri flat in Mumbai, sometimes going days without eating proper food.

"I had to eat hard-boiled eggs to survive on certain days. The holy month of Ramadan was extremely challenging," said Suraiya.

"There was no access to medicines since there was no public transport that could take me to places either," she added. It was her neighbours who helped her survive such a tough time.

"I also went into a depressive episode and lost a lot of weight during my time there," Suraiya said.

So, when Sadia learnt that private jets were operating out of India into the UAE, she immediately reached out to Empire Aviation. The firm even adjusted the flight dates, so that they could be reunited on Sadia's birthday.

"After I got back to Dubai, I feel like I got a new life. I am so proud of my daughter for arranging all this. All the others who returned with us were also able to be reunited with their families," Suraiya said. 


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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