Radio 2

Coronavirus means West Flemish mum misses son’s big day in India

In addition to the great pressure the coronavirus crisis has put on our health system and the great financial cost incurred as a result of the measures imposed to try and curb the spread of the virus it is also having a great human cost. Some of us have lost loved ones to the virus, others have seen long-standing plans having to be modified, postponed or cancelled, while others have been unable to visit relatives and friends in foreign countries due to the travel restrictions that have been in force in varying degrees for much of this year. 

One such person is 72-year-old Rita Van Stalle from the West Flemish coastal municipality of Blankenberge. The pensioner had hoped to be able to travel to India to be at the wedding of her son Filip to his Indian bride Deepa. Secretly she had hoped that the traditional Hindu wedding would be postponed again as had been the case earlier in the year when the coronavirus situation in India was particularly acute.

Rita was all ready to embark on the long journey to go and see her son tie the knot. However, once again the coronavirus pandemic here in Belgium has meant that she was unable to travel to her son’s big day. Rita Van Stalle told VRT Radio 2 West Flanders “The date had been chosen by local priests based on astrology. Deepa’s father is a real Hindu so there wasn’t much room for discussion”.    

“A ceremony like this lasts for hours and starts early in the morning. I of course have every understanding for the situation and above all I am happy for Filip”.  

The ceremony took place in the in the Kaiwara Temple in Chinthamani in the state of Karnataka. Thankfully Rita has been able to look at photographs and films of the wedding on social media.

She is still waiting for the green light to be able to travel to India. However, with the situation as it is, it could well be some time before she is able to visit her son and her new daughter-in-law.

“By the time I see Filip and Deepa again there will probably by three of them. If he comes to visit us, he won’t be able to go back. But I will be so happy when I can put my arms around him and his new bride”. 

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