Indian businessman living in Xi’an puts faith in China during virus crisis

By Chen Xi Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/24 19:03:40

Dev Raturi Photo: Courtesy of Dev Raturi

"After every darkness, there is a dawn."

Dev Raturi, an Indian businessman living in China for 15 years, chose to stay in China with his family to wait for the "dawn" - the end of the COVID-19 crisis in China.

"It would be easy to run away to a safe place like India in such a situation, but we decided to wait as we have full confidence in the Chinese government that they will be able to bring the situation under control and quickly bring back normality," he told the Global Times on Monday.

Second hometown

When Raturi first arrived in China in 2005, he quickly fell in love with Chinese culture. Because of his strong interest in business and entertainment as well as his hard-working spirit, Raturi was able to quickly open several restaurants in cities throughout China, including Beijing, Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province and Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province. The latter city, with its deep roots in the culture of the Silk Road, is where he finally decided to settle down with his wife and two sons.

"Xi'an is my second home… I can't contribute much in such a scenario, but I can give moral support to show my love to our beautiful China, where I have really grown from an ordinary person to a mature person," Raturi said, adding that his two sons, who were born and study in China, also wanted to stay.

Due to the epidemic, Raturi has not been able to travel around for business, but it has allowed him to spend valuable time with his family and do exercise like yoga to keep himself fit. He also helps his kids with their online classes since their school postponed the date of the new semester. "I thank the teachers who still provide online classes every day," he said.

This second hometown has also provides him with a sense of belonging. His Chinese friends often call him to make sure everything is fine and some of them have even sent him some masks.

Business impact

Raturi agreed that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus has had "a huge and direct impact on thousands of small businesses" including his eight restaurants, which use ingredients imported from India as well as chefs from the country.

He revealed that he sent all the employees at his restaurants except those in Xi'an back to India.

"Actually, all my employees did not want to return to India because they know China well and they believe that China can make it and everything will soon get better. However, their family members were worried, so I decided to send them back to India. The employees in Xi'an chose to stay because I was here. They were willing to stay with me and wait,"he said.

He also expressed his gratitude to the local government in Xi'an for the measures it has taken such as waiving rent for restaurants in February and charging only half a month's rent for March and April.

"The Xi'an government has always been very polite and helpful to locals and foreigners. They have been helping us over the past seven years to grow as big as we are now and always give us suggestions, so I believe they will continue supporting us as they have always done."

Peace and love

Raturi was shocked after he heard some ridiculous rumors that were spreading overseas and believed by his friends abroad. Raturi said he strongly condemns the creation and spread of fake news and often wonders why no one tried to smear the US' image back when the 2009 Swine Flu epidemic killed more than 10,000 people in the country. 

"I am telling them all to refrain from such hoax news. I don't know how these negative rumors spread, but such rumors are devastating for the country's image. I urge people to stand by the country in such a critical situation and stop such news from spreading." 

He expressed his confidence in China when it came to fighting against the epidemic. 

"I really admire how the Chinese government took immediate stringent measures to lock down Wuhan to save the world and the way they created the isolation hospitals within no time and controlled the other cities to keep it from spreading," he said.

Raturi said he highly respects the thousands of volunteers, soldiers and police who have risked their lives to serve in Wuhan as well as brave medical staff like coronavirus "whistleblower" doctor Li Wenliang who sacrificed his life in this crisis to warn people about the epidemic.

The dawn has yet to come, but Raturi has already begun making plans for when things are over. 

"I would like to visit all of my close friends, call all my employees to come back to work and reopen my restaurants. I also would like to visit India. There are lots of pending tasks that are personal and work related," he said.

Newspaper headline: Waiting for the dawn

blog comments powered by Disqus