9 April, 2021 – Bangalore, India

By Rasita V

Early this morning, my husband and I headed to a nearby hospital for an Rt-PCR test. Not that we have any symptoms – we wanted to get ourselves tested for travel purposes.

Something had been bothering me for the last few days – or since I had a video chat with my mother last week. My mother’s 60th is close and while talking to her last week, I sensed that she wanted me to be with her for her star-birthday. The star-birthday (based on the Malayalam calendar) is more important for many Malayalis than their birth date; this was the case with my mother too. While we were talking, she suddenly asked me when I was coming to Kolkata and expressed how badly she wanted to meet me in person. I had planned to be there for her actual birthday, but the conversation made me realise that my mother has always been a star person. The irony is that things really started getting bad after we talked. Suddenly the second wave got worse: the number of people impacted and casualties all started increasing. My mother got worried about what she had said and asked me not to come.

WhatsApp chats in our housing society have so far only shown instances of people testing positive after they had got themselves tested for travel purposes – most of them had no symptoms. My heart and mind don’t speak the same way anymore, my heart tells me to go whereas my mind just discourages me.

We headed to the hospital today and there was a very long line for testing, which we did not expect at all. I started wondering: am I taking the wrong step? Am I risking my parents’ and brother’s health too by travelling at this time? But if I don’t even try I will have regrets. So I’ve decided to do my bit and leave the rest to the almighty.

After standing in the line for two and half hours, we got ourselves tested. Observing the hospital staff clean the room diligently throughout this time, after each and every visit, I just didn’t have any words to thank them enough.

We got back home and hurried back to work.  The whole day went by in uncertainty, but my happiness knew no bounds when my husband told me this evening that the results have come back and we have both tested negative. I feel free, no more worries, nothing is bothering me anymore. I feel so privileged, thankful and grateful to God that we can travel now.