It is now understood and agreed that these are unprecedented times. We thought to get over with it in a few weeks or months at the max. But they seem to be no letdown, in fact, a second wave has appeared.
The plan to visit the US For a family commitment, started in the month of may last year. Travel agents weren’t ready to book tickets as they did know when the skies would open up. Each month we would wait eagerly for the government notification which used to come around 20th to inform when flights would be allowed to operate.
May June July… the months rolled by. Finally, by the end of September 2020, only Air India promised us that their aircraft would take off. We purchased tickets for December 2020, though we were needed here only in Jan 2021, as we knew we had to quarantine, after reaching here. There was panic, tension and uncertainty till we boarded the flight. More than the excitement of the trip, there was stress, it kinda killed us. Airports looked deserted and many of the shops were shut. Each one looked at the others ask if it was they were potential sources of infection. The once teaming airport looked like a ghost town, and all one could see were scared passengers n the invisible coronavirus, everywhere. Sanitizers were used liberally, washroom visits were minimised and no one wanted to eat anything as they would rather go hungry than expose themselves to the virus.
The flight was uneventful but filled with tension the crew greeted us grimly but we weren’t bothered. No one looked at anyone’s face, as it is. The food was cold but anxiety was high. We didn’t feel like eating anything, the shield and mask provided by the aircraft were clung to, desperately
Once we landed, we observed that there was no compulsion on the quarantine and no one checked whether we went home or hotel out into isolation. We checked into a booked Airbnb, voluntarily, out of concern for loved ones. This was extended to 9 days as some findings said that the virus show it could show its effect after that. The Corona testing was drive-thru, easy and simple, the results fast and quick.
At the end of it we could only thank God and Air India for reaching safely to the US. Hats off to AirIndia and its crew!!
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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