Actress Soundarya Sharma, who had approached the Indian embassy and Ministry of External Affairs for assistance to return to India amid a coronavirus pandemic, has opted out of travelling by the repatriation flight phase one so that people who are in distress can travel back home first.
Soundarya said, “I am certainly missing my folks back home but the priority is not me. It’s for those who are in a difficult situation here and have to get back. As it’s a must have for them and I always have felt my happiness should not be at anyone cost. My appeal was for the people and I am so thankful to everyone for mission VANDE BHARAT,” she added.
Soundarya had approached the Indian embassy and Ministry of External Affairs for assistance, along with more than 400 Indians including students who are stranded in the USA amid the coronavirus pandemic. The actress was in Los Angeles to attending an acting course at Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.
The actress, who featured in the film Ranchi Diaries, had earlier said, “I would humbly request the Indian embassy and the MEA for a stimulus package for all those students and fellow Indians who are stuck here to help overcome this situation and hopefully arrange an evacuation flight back to India,” she said.
Actress Soundarya Sharma believes getting stuck in Los Angeles due to COVID-19 pandemic and experiencing the struggle to get access to essentials things has turned out to be a life-altering period for her. She says that she tries not to think about when she will be able to return to India because the wait is “never-ending”.
“Honestly, it’s been a true life-learning experience for me. I had never even imagined myself to be in lockdown in a place like Los Angeles,” Soundarya told IANS.
“I had come here to attend an intensive acting course at Lee Strasberg and New York Film Academy and then we were shooting in Universal Studios the day they announced this pandemic. Since then, things changed completely. The corona happened and now these protests are going on. The situation is quite grim and things are different, so it’s been an experience and I’ve learnt so many things during this time,” she added.
Reflecting upon the challenges that came with the global shutdown, she said: “When they announced this pandemic, I was here in Los Angeles and I used to go out every day at 6 am in the morning, standing in the queues, I could not get grocery for almost one-one and half month and I had to manage with very little whatever I used to get. There was so much paranoia. Then, I did not have masks and sanitisers and gloves, initially. So, that was again a big challenge. I had to make my own mask.
“My flight was cancelled almost 5 times. So that was another challenge for me. Now because of these protests and riots which were happening, my apartment where I used to live was West Hollywood, West Beverly Hills and I had to move out of my apartment because of the situation. Now, I have moved to a much safer place in Central Beverly Hills. I mean challenges were there at different levels, we all do have challenges,” she added.
The actress, who made her debut in the digital world with “Raktanchal”, is coping up with her struggles by keeping a positive attitude.
“I am learning Spanish. I am watching a lot of performances, as in movies and important shows. Because being a medical student, I never watched films and performances so I am doing my homework that way. I do lots of workouts, I go for a walk because it was not a 100% lockdown, so I used to go for my workout. Since, I’m spiritually inclined, I meditate a lot. It really helps me. I realise that we all do take things so much for granted in our life but life has its own plans now, it’s become like we are taking it day-wise. So, this whole period of quarantine and lockdown has been really different and evolving, as in on a personal level,” she said.
She has realised that “life is not about just achievement, it’s about fulfilment”.
“I felt fulfilled by helping and doing my bit for people who were needy, who needed the most and people who were stranded, whatever bit I could do, I cooked for them for Eid. I had to give up my seat on the repatriation flights. So, this whole process, this whole thing has made me very selfless and made me realise the value of things and grateful for even the smaller things we have in a nutshell. This is a quite selfless period for me,” she added.
The actress who has worked in the Bollywood film “Ranchi Diaries” is not spending her time fretting over getting back to India.
“I try not to think too much about when I’ll be flying back home because it’s never-ending. It’s been almost 5 months for me to be here and months that I’ve seen my folks. So stuck in a foreign land alone can be quite emotionally challenging. I’m just taking it day-by-day. I do face-time my family but then being on your own and dealing with things and you know so many things happening, it can be quite emotionally draining and challenging,” she said.
On the work front, she was recently seen in the web series “Raktanchal”. The crime drama is inspired by real events that happened in Purvanchal, Uttar Pradesh, in the eighties, around the time when state development work was distributed through tenders. It streams on MX Player.