Saturday, March 6, 2021

Travel safe, travel well

Reading Time: 3 minutesA curtainraiser for your upcoming trip to India

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About this time the supply and demand equation for flights to India changes: demand far exceeds supply as most Indian Australians start their annual pilgrimage to India. While it will no doubt be an invaluable opportunity to catch up with friends and family, here are a few observations of what to expect as you ‘go back to where you came from’.

On a people-to-people basis, those who have elderly parents will experience a surge of guilt for abandoning them in India while they themselves live so far away. They will look at options to have them join them in Australia, and so, there will be much Googling to look at government rules and regulation. But perhaps it will be worth looking at the reality of it all, and understanding whether the mums and dads are happy in their current network of friends and relatives and with their independence, something which they may have to give up if they are encouraged to migrate to a new country and set up brand new social structures.

There will be much socialising with friends who, since India opened up its economy in 1991, have now established themselves well in the financial fabric of the economy. While these friends may be fairly well set, their children may well be getting educated in the UK or in the US, as the demand for good education far exceeds supply of quality institutions.

Then, there will be the health issues which one will invariably come across. For middle class India, there is ready availability of alcohol and, with money at hand and limited entertainment opportunities, booze does tend to figure large in the lives of contemporary urban Indians.

The traffic, of course, will not only be different to what you experience in Australia, but also changed from the last time you visited. The infrastructure in India still needs to catch up with the explosion in various type of vehicles – be it the cars or the two wheel scooters or the buses.

There will be robust debate about the new Modi government. On the one hand there will be those who are worried about the emergence of a single religion-dominated party and what it can do for other minorities of the country; there will be others who feel that it’s time to have a different government in power who can take firm reins of the country. The passion of politics, fuelled by a couple of drinks, will definitely feature in the discussions. And yes, there will be the inevitable discussion about the booming property prices and the scourge of black money and corruption.

Australia will feature strongly during your sojourn in India. Cricket will be in season, despite the loss of young cricketer Phillip Hughes, and as Dhoni, Kohli and the boys battle it out with Clarke, Warner and Johnson, chances are you will see a fair bit of Australia in living rooms around India. And for sure, you will be asked why they like Modi so much in Oz….

Well, that’s your curtain-raiser to your upcoming trip to India! Regardless, the beauty of a holiday to India is that it will always keep the connection alive with the home country.

For those travelling, travel safe and may this holiday be a memorable one for you and yours.

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Pawan Luthra
Pawan Luthra
Pawan is the publisher of Indian Link and is one of Indian Link's founders. He writes the Editorial section.

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