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We left for India on February 1, 2020 in order to meet up with family to celebrate my husband’s older brother’s 50th wedding anniversary. Our daughter and son in law, who live near us in Victoria, were planning to join us a few days later. We had invited my sister and her husband to travel to India for the first time, and after the festivities were over, we planned to tour the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan with them, and then head to Nepal for a couple of weeks of exploration as well.

We also tacked on an extra month in order to avoid the cool, rainy months in Victoria, by seeking out a warm sunny spot along the Mediterranean somewhere, and relax until our flight home from Larnaca, Cyprus scheduled for April 28, 2020.

However, the anniversary celebrations were subdued by two unfortunate events. The first was the unexpected death of our dear sister in law Neeta Kapoor, the wife of Anil’s younger brother Ajay, on October 25th and the second was the news that the COVID-19 virus had spread outside of China and into Europe, hitting Italy particularly hard. It seemed just a matter of time before it spread to more and more countries around the world. Several of our family members were preventing from coming to India for the anniversary gathering because of the impact the news was having on their job situations.

We had taken precautions while travelling through Taipei and Bangkok airports on our way to India, and had been following the news reports with great interest. We were able to complete our 10-day visit to Gujarat as planned, and had moved on to Rajasthan when Anil developed a severe cough similar to my chronic cough caused by allergies to plants flowering in India’s winter months. He found relief when I gave him some of the over-the-counter antihistamines that I always have on hand, so we knew it wasn’t related to the virus in any way.

However, we are both senior citizens now, part of the virus’ most vulnerable group, and when we were in Jodhpur, Rajasthan I found that I was so concerned about Anil’s health that I suggested we abandon our plans and head home early. This meant that we were pulling the plug on my sister and her husband’s plans as well, but they were very understanding, and we encouraged them to carry on to Udaipur and Jaipur, and use the flight and hotel bookings what we had already arranged in advance.

Of course, they were disappointed, but they are more than ten years younger, and they were experienced enough to travel in India on their own. The Festival of Holi was approaching, and they would be in Udaipur for the celebrations; they didn’t want to miss it. We said goodbye to them on March 10th as they were leaving for Udaipur by road, and later that afternoon we flew to Delhi to say goodbye to family there, collect our extra luggage and prepare to fly home in the early hours of March 12th.


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