What should I write about today? 4 months ago, I was in a different country, wondering how I would plan my future. I had just graduated from Parsons and was finishing up my work and studies in NYC. COVID had rendered most of the activities lifeless in NYC (the city didn't have the vibe it used to). In that time, the Government of India started running the Vande Bharat flights, with a mission to bring every Indian back to their homeland - India.
I was one of their passengers. It was a remarkable flight. I've never flown inside a spaceship, but a glimpse into the deck, and I was certain that the feeling was similar. From head-to-toe, I was covered in personal protective equipment (PPE). All the essentials and food that we're offered in the flight was kept on our seat, and our interactions were left to a minimum. Think about it. When you're totally covered in gear, what else can you do?
So, I had 15 hours to myself. I had to pass my time without much entertainment or food. The flight time was exhilarating. I tried to sleep through most of it. When I landed in New Delhi, the sight was that of a barren land. The airport was converted into a makeshift recovery site where passengers were grouped as per their state of transit and then moved through passport control and checkout. I have flown more than 50 times over the years, and this experience was unique. I was in a queue, following orders, and trying to document the experience.
After 2 hours, when I was finally allocated to an institutional quarantine in my hometown (Panchkula), I got into my car and went straight to a 4 hour drive home. My last 20 hours of travel had exhausted me so much (wearing PPE kit all along) that I started to grow resistant to the absence of it. I remember that when I reached the hotel (I was quarantined for a week there), I was resisting to meet/hug/touch Mom and Dad because it felt like I shouldn't. Who knows what COVID can and cannot do, right?
So, over the course of the week in my hotel room, I recovered from jetlag, played with my VR headset, got to eat some of the most delicious meal cooked by Mom, and played cards with Mom and Dad in the evening. Dad used to come and visit each evening from office, and it was such a warm feeling to have people over to my place, since I was living alone for several months. It had been a while since I saw faces in-person.
One week later, I was released from the hotel, and moved to my home. As soon as I reached, I felt like I was free to roam around and do what I wanted. It feels liberating, but it's not so much for someone who was prevented from doing it for so long that he grew habitual to it.
Nevertheless, I gradually started adapting to the change, and started handling the everyday chores of my company, and that of our parent company, Venus. Things became normal so quickly, that it's been 4 months I didn't even realize that a quarter had passed since I was in my NY.
I still 🖤 NY.