Before lockdown, I always used to book airline tickets for my future itinerary for the whole year-round, and always a briefcase was packed for the itineraries. Last year sudden lockdown drove me crazy and I was in a state of shock for losing my air tickets…anyhow, after few months of lockdown, the aviation department released a press statement that the amounts would be reimbursed and I was alas at ease.
Since the Covid pandemic, our lives have changed to a greater extent and the small distances appear longer due to so many changes and impositions of new rules in air travel and other modes of travel. No more, and easy affair to tour hither and thither.
My parents are in Bangalore and I am working in Hyderabad, earlier, it seemed close by, and would often give them surprise visits.
Now the things have changed, and the recent passing of my dear father during lockdown made me realize how difficult it is to travel. Being at close quarters and regular flight tickets from Hyderabad to Bangalore seemed farfetched. Most of the flights were cancelled due to trending covid wave 2.0.
You won’t believe, this covid pandemic did not let me attend my father’s last rituals and life-long, I cannot get out of this guilt of not making to it. My siblings and Mom understood my helplessness but still, my heart disagrees.
However, after days of trying, finally, I got my tickets after 10 days for Bangalore along with a long list of do’s and Don’ts for air travel.
I felt like a naïve traveler after reading the new norms to be followed to be eligible for air travel. The eligibility criteria were with too much complexity and it’s better to travel in urgency because the air-journey is no more simple and fun.
· Collection of Health Certificate from your medical practitioner
· RTPCR Negative test report
· Remain in mask throughout air-journey else you will be penalized for not following the rules
· Use a PPE kit if you happen to land in the middle seat
· Face-shield is a must once you are on your way to boarding
· No refreshments inside the flight
As I was about to enter the airport premises, a person stopped me to do a temperature screening test. After that, I had to show my id, tickets and put away my mask from my face to rule my identity. The official scorned me to match my face with the ID card. Inside the premises, the spark was missing, few people could be spotted here and there far off from the hustles at the airport. The ambiance seemed dull and the people appeared to be aliens with new normal attire, the inclusion of masks and gloves and PPE kit.
Once glamorous air-hostesses seemed to be hostages with PPE kit, gloves, and masks on.
The craving of relishing coffee in the air was diffused, and I sat on my seat observing some fellow passengers and the crew members.
Finally, I landed in Bangalore and the airport wore a deserted look.
Upon reaching my Mom’s place, I heartily wished to hug her tight and cry but gosh, fear of Covid stopped me. I rushed inside the washroom to discard my clothes and had a refreshing bath to get rid of germs that might have snuggled me during the trip.
I sat opposite my Mom and siblings, could gaze at the pain of recent loss but could not hug each other. That day, for the first time, I realized how much Covid has affected – it has made us fearful, living in doubt and preventing us from the feeling of warmth in relationships.
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