Covid-19 stories: I got married amidst a pandemic - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Covid-19 stories: I got married amidst a pandemic

Jun 23, 2021 04:36 PM IST

Getting hitched amid a pandemic comes with its share of hurdles.


Representational Image
Representational Image

Ravi Srivastava is a Seattle-based software engineer.

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

Like many others, the pandemic did not leave me untouched, deeply impacting my emotional well-being and completely ruining one of the most memorable moments of my life - my wedding.

The moments that were supposed to be the most cherished turned into a horrid nightmare, clouded by uncertainty and fear. On the brighter side, it did become a wedding to remember! I got married in Lucknow when second wave was at its peak in India. I remember thousands had died that day and many affected, including some in my family. Who would have wanted to start a new life amidst such a backdrop?

But there we were, me and my bride sitting with masks on our wedding mandap chanting our vows. I have been living in Seattle for last 4 years, working here as a software engineer. It was in 2019 when my parents introduced me to Ananda, who lived in Chennai. We met only a couple of times and after virtually connecting for months, we knew it was time to take our relationship to the next level.

The date was fixed, and I was supposed to travel to India for our engagement in March 2020. By then news of a mysterious pneumonia had started trickling in, no one knew how disastrous it would turn out to be. I came to India few days before the lockdown, and we got engaged with our family and friends in attendance. Thankfully, the festivities ended in time, and I was lucky to escape the travel restrictions just by a whisker.

I left India with hopes that wedding would be a grand affair when I return in summer. The plan was simple - I would have come to India after few months, got married and returned soon after, to start a new life in America. But destiny had its own plans. 2020 turned out to be a year of isolation, loneliness, waiting and uncertainty.

After our engagement, my fiancé shifted to Malaysia with her parents and her younger brother got stuck in India. It was a crazy situation for all of us, trying to stay connected despite the time zones. And the wedding date kept getting postponed.

Finally, after travel restrictions eased, the wedding date was fixed for April 2021 and I then started packing my bags to travel to India again, delighted that after a long wait, finally I was able to go home, meet my family and tie the knot. Unfortunately, my optimism and excitement for the wedding impacted my discretion and I forgot the fact that viruses are not like Indian politicians who visit your home only once in 5 years.

Also, I trusted our government’s unsubstantiated and unwarranted claims that Covid has ended in India. Contrary to the statements made by the Indian government the virus resurfaced and this time its impact was massive. Despite the red flags, I decided to go ahead with my plans and took a flight to India. The airport was echoing with Covid-related announcements and warnings of fines for people not following covid protocols. Unfortunately, as we Indians have a strong notion that we have become highly immune to germs and viruses after eating street food and following home remedies we ignore all instructions and cover everything with our mask except our nostrils. Anyways, keeping my guards on and loading myself with all possible covid weapons from sanitizer, gloves to masks, finally I reached my home. I was happy that I had no symptoms and was home after a year. Still as a matter of precaution I quarantined myself for recommended 14 days. Unfortunately, soon after I returned, second wave impacted by family, my brother and mother were infected by the virus. Those were scary times, news of people dying on streets and running desperately from one hospital to another soon made me realise, the ground reality was far different from what we were being told.

Now, I had three things to worry about: recovery of my family from covid, should we even go ahead with the wedding ceremony and returning safely to US.

I was fortunate that my brother and mother recovered without any major complications soon before the wedding. It was a horrifying time; second wave was getting bigger by the day. My in-laws travelled from Malaysia for the wedding and days leading to the wedding were marred with safety of our near ones and excitement for the wedding shoved into the corner. In order to keep our wedding ceremony safe, we cancelled all the events, reduced the guests from 200 to 15-20 people and preponed the wedding dates. The photographer was not available, and all the other bookings also went into jeopardy.

Can you imagine a wedding without shopping, baraat, dance, photography, lavish buffet and guests? But we were satisfied to have been surrounded by our loved ones. It was a simple wedding in the most complicated setting. Thankfully, the wedding went well without any untoward incident, however, despite all precautions the virus was able to invade us. The very next day after our wedding my wife started showing symptoms of covid and soon it was me. Once again after a year, I was physically, mentally, and financially impacted by the virus. To further aggravate the pain and stress, US imposed travel restrictions on Indian citizens - excluding Green Card holders, students and parents of American-born kids.

Was it that virus could infect humans based on their visa status? The news only increased my stress levels and adversely impacted my capability to recover. Unfortunately, because of my health condition we were unable to travel back before the deadline. We were stuck in India with no timelines provided by US government on lifting the travel ban. The delay in my return was also impacting my job, and I may have lost it if I was not back in time.

Also, I had no clue of what was going to happen to our home, car and other things lying back in US. Then finally I returned in US in June after paying a hefty amount for my travel ticket. My wife is still in India and will return only in July. I am happy the rollercoaster and the most adventurous months of my life have come to an end and hope to start a new life with prayer of gratitude that the storm left without much collateral damage.

US Diaries is a collection of stories written by Indian-Americans. If you want to contribute, write to us at yourstories@htdigital.com.


The views expressed are personal.

Unlock a world of Benefits with HT! From insightful newsletters to real-time news alerts and a personalized news feed – it's all here, just a click away! -Login Now!
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, May 23, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On