It has been more than two years since we met our children staying abroad. The last time we, as a family, spent time together was in Sydney in September 2019, just a few months before Covid struck bringing the entire world to its knees.
Undeniably, the past two years have been traumatizing, trying, and testing times for everyone, more so for the families spread across nations. In the wake of the pandemic in 2020, strict lockdowns were imposed all over the world holing up people within their homes. At a time when movement within the country was restricted, international travel was out of question. It was fait accompli; no option but to reconcile with separation.
Somehow, we managed to sail through 2020, welcomed 2021 with optimism and hope in the midst of positive news on the vaccination front. But soon, our hope turned into despair when the country was caught unawares by Delta variant which brought the devastating second wave.
Now, once again, just as normalcy seemed to be getting restored, Omicron, a new variant of concern has plunged the world into collective uncertainty sending everyone into tizzy. Global pandemic response this time has been at a dizzying speed. Not ready to take any chances, many governments have already imposed travel restrictions.
The variant has cast shadow on our hopes for breezy 2022.Two years of waiting and again a period of uncertainty. Travel plans of many have been grounded including that of our son and daughter-in-law from Australia who were planning to visit us. They had their tickets booked and were thinking of giving us a surprise. But right now, all hopes of meeting in near future seem to have been dashed to the ground. The teeny-tiny notorious virus that managed to keep families apart for the past two years is again acting as a spoil-sport, coming in the way of family reunion. For how long will parents like us have to wait for the children to come home?.
Thankfully, internet has made it possible for us to talk on the phone and have video chats, but can virtual be a substitute for the real? Speaking to the family on video is not the same as sitting across each other. Smart phone is not smart enough to give the real feel; technology, howsoever advanced it may be, can never compensate for the physical absence. Home-coming of the children, family reunion is a different experience altogether. The very thought of reuniting with the children is exciting, starting with the preparation which begins much in advance to the countdown of their arrival. Their home-coming is a celebration; the whole house buzzes with activity as it echoes with their chatter and laughter.
Right now, an agonizing wait continues in the midst of uncertainty. All we can do is to hope and pray that Covid’s latest avtar is mild and 2022 sees the end of the pandemic.
(Published in The Tribune as MIDDLE on 23 December 2021)