Like every year, this year too, Vindhya Vishaka was all kicked to present IPL 2021 (Telugu) from the studios in Mumbai. Halfway through, however, the cash-rich tourney was called off after players began contracting the virus despite remaining in the bio-bubble.
Vindhya recalls hosting IPL in Mumbai when the second wave of the pandemic triggered in April. “As I was in a bio-bubble, I didn’t know about the disastrous scenes outside. Moreover, I did not even interact much with my family too,” she explains.
So, when the IPL was called off mid-way, her first reaction was to immediately panic. “The sudden development affected me so much. The news of cricketers losing their fathers and their dear ones completely shook me up,” recollects Vindhya, adding that everyone in the broadcast team was immediately asked to leave to their respective hometowns. “The situation was utterly chaotic, and no one knew what was happening then.”
Heading back home
During the trip to Hyderabad from Mumbai, Vindhya was required to wear three PPE kits and triple masks. It was then she understood the gravity of the pandemic and the devastations happening outside.
She also remembers being inundated with ‘How are you doing’ and ‘Hope you are fine’ messages from her friends and well-wishers. However, ever since her return home, she’s been hearing heart-breaking stories of families losing their dear ones.
“It’s so terrible and disheartening to listen to all the sad stories of my friends’ parents passing away. And then, the news about the lack of beds, oxygen cylinders, ventilators only added to the wretchedness,” says Vindhya.
With the losses mounting around her, the compere says she began realising the value of life. “We struggle for fame and money, but at the end of the day, what’s important is health and life. If those are affected, everything goes for a toss,” says the presenter, who’s also started her own YouTube channel.
Keeping busy through lockdown.
Since she’s back home, Vindhya has been ensuring that her parents don’t step outside and that the whole house follows all health protocols. But there is something else that’s keeping them going in these sad times.
“I come from a pet-loving family and have around fifteen pets at home. They keep all of us in high spirits and engaged all the time,” she says, adding that she also indulges in gardening, which keeps her refreshed.
Despite it all, staying cooped up at home through the pandemic is a task — one which can turn rather boring too. To beat the pandemic blues, the sports presenter has been reading a lot of biographies, including Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ book, Unfinished, and watching old cricket videos and trying to relive the moments from those.
Recently, Vindhya contributed `1 lakh to actor Sonu Sood’s foundation by auctioning her wardrobe. “Sonu Sood has inspired me in several ways, and the kind of work he is doing is truly commendable,” she says, expressing her admiration for the actor and his charitable efforts.
But Vindhya remembers how angry she was on knowing that the tournament was suspended. “Initially I couldn’t come out of the fact that the competition was suspended. But slowly it dawned on me that health and safety are more important,” she says.