When COVID 19 happened, at first we did not know the extent of the impact it would have on us.
At that time my parents were with us and were scheduled to leave for India in a couple of weeks. We told ourselves that the pandemic might well be a blessing in disguise – it probably meant that we as a family would get to spend more time with each other. My 6-year old son was over the moon that he would get to go on more walks with his grandad and get to eat more sweets made by his grandma.
I wish we could have foreseen what lay head of us. The Victorian government went on to announce a strict lockdown. Within weeks, the very house that my parents loved, began to feel like prison. Wearing a mask became a thing of dread and going out for walks soon dwindled into oblivion.
Naturally, all of this resulted in one overwhelming desire – to go back to their home in India.
My parents longed to be reunited with the country that gave them everything, including me. I would see my mother control her tears at the sight of anything that reminded her of India. My father would watch every little piece of news about India with renewed vigour and interest.
The longing they had for their homeland, sat like a thorn that refused to go away. If anything it developed into a source of tremendous stress.
But with commercial flights grinding to a halt, there was no way back home. Not right then anyway. During a casual phone call, a friend of ours told us that Gaura Travel started been operating charter flights from Australia to Delhi.
So what did we do? Well, I immediately took my phone and was about to call them when my wife reminded me that it was almost midnight! I recalled what my friend had said – that they were open 24/7. I flipped my laptop open and hit their website. And sure enough, I was chatting to them within seconds.
The lady chatting with us was professional, warm and reassuring. This was exactly what we needed to counter the anxiety my parents were going through and the stressful situation we found ourselves in.
Her accurate and timely responses meant we could take an informed decision – within the hour, we had booked our tickets. Given the extraordinary circumstances, we certainly did not expect to see things moving so fast. The next morning my father hugged me, thanking me. Yes, there were tears too.
Surprisingly, Gaura Travel offered to take that on for us as well and before I knew it they called me, letting me know that the exemption had been approved! This was 5-star levels of service.
The day arrived. That trip to the airport wasn’t easy. Just as we were about to check in, we met someone from Gaura Travel there. I mean, seriously, since when did a travel agency take the effort to come to the airport and ensure that their passengers were being looked after?
They were able to get my mother, who suffers from acute arthritis a wheelchair. And the smile on her face, when my son was wheeling her around the airport…yes, priceless indeed.
They had an incredibly smooth flight back home and settled into their home quickly. Us on the other hand? Well, we got back from the airport to an empty house, filled with sweet memories of my parents.
And a heartfelt thank you to an organization that has made it their business to help families find a way back home. My parents were reunited with the life and the land they love so much.
And for this, I cannot be more grateful to Gaura Travel. I recently read that they reunited 10,000 families through their charter flights – well, I consider myself very luck that ours was one of those too.