Three Indian brothers based in UAE lose three sisters to COVID-19 back home

Three Indian brothers based in UAE lose three sisters to COVID-19 back home

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Clockwise: Fousiya, Fasila, Arifa, Fousiya’s husband Basheer. The sisters’ used to live in a house named after their mother Rabiya (in the centre) who passed away 26 years ago
Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Visiting ‘Rabiya’s’ — the house where all four of the sisters lived even after their marriages, at their hometown in Mahe, India — used to be the most cherished vacation destination for three Indian siblings based in the UAE. The house that was named after their late mother, however, will not be the same again for the PKV brothers — Azeez PKV, Mohammed Shafeek PKV and Anwar Sadick PKV — as COVID-19 has snatched away three of their sisters and a brother-in-law in a span of 10 days.

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The PKV brothers: From left, Azeez, Safrad (their nephew), Shafeek and Sadick during Safrad’s wedding

All the four sisters were living together even after their marriage according to the age-old custom of local Muslim families.

Adjacent to Kannur district in the south Indian state Kerala, Mahe is a small town under the Union Territory Puducherry.

The eight-bedroom villa next to the inter-state border check-post at the Mahe bridge was full of life till COVID-19 struck the family members in the first week of April. Ten of the 14 family members living in the house, including the children of the four sisters, contracted the deadly virus one after another. “Initially, a doctor with a private hospital in Thalassery [in Kannur] told them that there was no need to test for COVID-19. That created some confusion and delay [in getting proper treatment],” Sadick, 45, told Gulf News over the phone from Mahe.

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The PKV sisters: From left Fazila, Arifa, Thahira (the lone survivor) and Fousiya

Both Sadick and Shafeek, 49, had flown home from the UAE after the demise of their second sister, Fasila PKV, 56, who passed away on April 21 at Vatakara in Kerala. Their eldest sister Fousiya PKV, 58, her husband Basheer VP, 66, and the third sister, Arifa PKV, 54, were then fighting for their lives in two different hospitals in Kozhikode, Kerala. Around 2.30am on April 29, Arifa breathed her last. Within four hours, the family was informed about the death of Basheer, who had been taken off a ventilator just the previous night. Two days later, on May 1, Basheer’s wife Fousiya too passed away.

Thahira, 42, the youngest of the siblings, had also tested positive. However, she remained without complications and tested negative later. Arifa’s husband Iqbal, 59, who was in a critical stage initially, also recovered. “He started breathing with oxygen support just a week ago. His health is better now,” said Sadick. He added that Fasila’s husband Zakariya PP, 64, who had also tested positive but remained asymptomatic, took care of all the other family members.

The eldest of the three brothers, Azeez, 51, who is a warehouse and logistics officer with a firm in Abu Dhabi, said he could not even be with his sisters during their last days.

Struggling to cope 

“They were everything to us. Every time we went down for our vacation, our sisters’ place brought us much happiness,” said Azeez.

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Azeez and family with Fousiya (left) and Fasila (second from right) and Arifa (extreme right)

After their mother Rabiya’s passing away 26 years ago, the brothers said their eldest sister Fousiya was the mother-figure for the entire family.

Buhari bin Abdul Qadir, managing director of Bathline Sanitaryware Trading in Sharjah, where Sadick is a manager, said the siblings’ bonding was well-known among his colleagues. “Their family is very popular in Mahe. The house is known to most people in the locality,” he added.

He said Sadick was involved in COVID-19 volunteering work when the company’s warehouse was used for storage and packaging of food items that were distributed by AKCAF Volunteers, a community volunteer group.

“He was also active in volunteering to send relief material during the floods in Kerala. It’s so unfortunate that his loving family had to suffer such a big tragedy.”


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