I had to leave for India somewhat urgently. The father had mysteriously picked up a strain of Typhoid and Covid, the mother had Covid after days of caring for the former. As can be imagined, it was not the easiest frame of mind in which travel plans were made. Traveling anywhere in the middle of the pandemic is a nightmare. Traveling from the US to the East is never an easy task. So, traveling from the United States to India during the peak of the Omicron variant of the Covid pandemic is doubly painful. I am grateful I was able to make it though. With flights being the way they are, and travel plans being so erratic, travel is to be avoided if possible. However my travel was unavoidable.
I took care of things like making a pest of myself with the children since I shall be missing them for sometime, returning the books in the library, packing gloves, masks, and Clorox wipes for the old home etc. The husband’s face, in the meanwhile, took on a serious look, and he plunged into the mode of planning and getting the important things done.
The husband in planning mode is a force to reckon with. Phone calls flew, chat messages scrambled and unscrambled themselves with the might of the Internet’s speed thrown at them. Friends who had recently made the journey were consulted, advice was given, and mysterious packages containing masks of various sizes and shapes were dropped off at the curb by different cars and occupants. Some of them had recently come back from India, and so, masks for long term wear were dropped off.
One mask made me look like a duck, another like a monkey, and the third like a surgeon. Based on popular user experience, the duck incarnation won the round for the flight. The strap went over the head, and was no problem at all throughout. So, off I went, intensely aware of the long journey between my adult and childhood homes. It might’ve taken 80 days to go around the world before air travel. With air travel, it took approximately 32 hours door-to-door.
I have always felt that if there was one place that got the full blast of human emotions, it must be hospital corridors, and airports. I was stopped by the security officer who saw my boarding pass to New Delhi airport and started talking to me in Hindi.
“Sab teek hai?” He asked me, a look of concern in his eyes. (It is astounding how much we notice the eyes post-Covid. I wonder whether babies born in Covid times leaped ahead with this skillset). I was a little confused and taken aback at first- but nodded. Intensely aware that not always will this be the case, and grateful that this time it was.
P.S: The parents are recovering well, and the old father has been itching to start his stock marketing, and has been given the green light to do so.