The six hours the Dalvis from Sanpada spent waiting to hear from their daughter Bhagyashree, who was in Kathmandu for the U-14 Asian Football Championship, are something they will never forget.
“The news took time to sink in. From disbelief to trauma, I experienced it all. A parent can never be calm if his child is in trouble,” said Swanand Dalvi, Bhagyashree’s father, who works at a private firm.
Dalvi immediately got in touch with the Western India Football Association (WIFA) and the All India Football Federation (AIFF). They tried to contact the Indian contingent, but failed because the communication lines were down. Around 2pm, Dalvi spoke to a team official in Nepal, who told them their daughter was safe. Although the news offered some relief, Dalvi and his wife Hema were restless, as they hadn’t spoken to their daughter.
At 8.30pm, they got to speak to their daughter, who was staying at the lawn of the hotel, instead of her room. “Bhagyashree was preparing for their match against Iran at the stadium when the earthquake occurred. The entrance of the stadium collapsed, after which the girls were asked to wait for help at the ground, along with other teams,” said Dalvi, adding they had their first meal of the day only after hearing Bhagyashree’s voice.
They girls were given food and were taken care of by the authorities concerned. On Sunday morning, they left the hotel at 7.30am, but took four hours to reach the airport as the roads had been damaged. Their flight was delayed because of the aftershocks that shut the airport for three hours. They finally left Nepal at 3.45pm and landed in the national capital at 5.30pm.
Hema Dalvi is waiting to see her daughter, who will return to Mumbai on Monday. “I will prepare her favourite food items. I am just waiting to see her and hug her. This entire experience has been unnerving,” said Hema.
The parents thanked the AIFF and officials concerned who were constantly updating them about the rescue operations. “We are thankful to everybody who played a role in ensuring our daughter’s safety,” said Dalvi.