Continuing our lockdown diaries of Year 2020, we bring some inspiring tales with tips to begin living life normally again, albeit with precautionary measures in place. Without slackening on any Covid-19 safety norms and stricture to current Government-regulated guidelines, travelling to meet family members, friends, for vacations or on work is now possible. Here are the top inspirational stories for you:

I TOOK MY PET ‘RANI’ ALONG WITH ME BY AIR
Anubha Sawhney, Media Professional

Agencies

Anubha Sawhney with her pet ‘Rani’.

I am a Mumbai-based-based pet parent to a 4-month-old Shih Tzu puppy named Rani. In the month of November 2020, I flew from New Delhi to Mumbai with my pet, seated with me on my lap in the flight cabin. Sounds unbelievable? It sure is possible, this is how my experience turned out to be.

National carrier Air India currently flies pets.Your puppy or kitten (there was a kitten on the same flight) can fly in the cabin with you if the weight of the pet and the bag or cage that you carry it in does not weight more than 5 kgs (the airline website has the guidelines mentioned, you must check it out for your pet).

Inside the bag, I inserted a light-weight mat at the bottom for my pet Rani to be seated comfortably. It is mandatory to reach the airport at least 2.5 hours early for the safety rounds to begin. The captain of the airline takes a good look and approves or clears the pet for the journey ahead. The pilot’s clearance is an important formality. Please note that while you may not need to buy a separate ticket for your pet, you will certainly be asked to pay excess baggage charges for your pet at the airport ticket counter as per the pet’s weight along with the carrier bag. I paid Rs 3150/- and kept the receipt with me throughout the journey till I reached my destination. (It is also a superb souvenir to have for later).

There are some documents required to be carried along. These include the originals of your pet’s vaccination details and a ‘Fit To Fly’ certificate from your veterinary doctor. Try to get these certifications closest to the date of travel.The relevance of the dates is high on priority for the airline.

I had given food to my pet 3 hours before the flight. I mixed the dog food with water so that Rani could also drink something before we left. My vet had advised 2 ml of a very mild tranquilizer for my pet before we flew. This is a prescription drug, and you will need to check with your own regular vet before administering. I had also given this prescribed dosage to my pet once we had boarded and it kept the pet calm and sleepy through the entire journey.

Once we were onboard but still on ground, I gave her the tranquilizer, dosage followed by a few sips of water. She settled down quite well. I kept the carrier on the floor between my feet, with the zip slightly open while she slept.

Some pets may require a muzzle while flying but I didn’t think one could fit a muzzle on a Shih Tzu’s face, so I didn’t use one. It could be a requirement for your pet, it’s a good idea to identify this need. At the Security Check inside the airport, you will be asked to take your pet out of the carrier and put the carrier in the scanner like a regular bag. This is also the only time your pet will ‘officially’ be allowed out of her carrier throughout the airport and airplane journey.

It was a big relief to see how my pet Rani was treated by the airline. The ground staff and also the crew of Air India often checked about the comfort of my pet during the journey. The air hostess in fact, specially came to remind me to put the pet carrier in my lap during take-off and landing.

Another good idea is to plan your travel dates and book your tickets beforehand. Pets are allowed only in the last row of whichever class you are flying. It is ideal to block your seats as soon as the web checkin opens for your flight.

Logistical planning is also important. At both New Delhi and Mumbai airports, the walk to and from the flight gates is pretty long, so it’s a fine idea to travel light. Besides all relevant papers, I carried one measured serving of dog food,water, pet wipes, poop bags, one pee pad, a light shawl, medicines for vomiting, fever and allergies, prescribed by the regular vet and also a chewy squeaky toy for the pet.

MEMORABLE RIDE: My journey with my pet Rani was a happy and memorable one. Hopeful that my experience will helps other pet parents too.

I TOOK MY FAMILY ON A TRIP TO KHAJURAHO
Neha Mishra, Communications Coach and Mentor

Neha Mishra with family members visiting Western Group of Temples in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh.Agencies

Neha Mishra with family members visiting Western Group of Temples in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh.

Being an avid traveller, lockdown came as one of the biggest disappointments. Unlike 2020, every year I took a few solo backpacking trips, a few family travels and a few with friends, because travel lifts up my mood, keeps my creative juices flowing, helps me make new memories and experiences.

Lockdown had major impact on older generation as they had never been home bound for so long, hence when domestic travel opened in India, I decided to visit my parents in Lucknow. In October, 2020,my cousins and I made a plan for a 4-day selfdrive trip to Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh. We researched the place and pinned all must-visit destinations including Panna National Park Safari, Raneh Falls; the famous Western temples. This outing soon turned out to be a lifetime travel memory.

ON MY WISH-LIST: There are many in the bucket list, I do not think I can get enough of travelling but I want to go for a meditative vacation to Dharamshala, and like I said North East; many of the international destinations are on my list. The desire to making new memories, learning new cultural practices, admiring nature and the hunger to explore inspires me to keep going. For me, travel is synonymous to growth.

HELPING THE NEEDY WITH FOOD DONATION DRIVE
Harsh Mandavia, Entrepreneur and Social Cause Champion

Harsh Mandavia feels one with nature.Agencies

Harsh Mandavia feels one with nature.

Lockdown of 2020 has been a life-changing phase in my life for two good reasons. First, I was facing an emotional setback personally and second, a sudden disconnect from the world, it was my first time of being in isolation at home.

I really needed to channelise the negative energy into something worthwhile, I had to get up and act. So, I went for the first food donation drive and got myself involved in some worthy social work. I began to feel joy by feeding the needy. It was like my ‘Kensho’ moment (turning pain into power).

My mother Heena Mandavia and I run a humble delivery kitchen Harsh Thali and Parathas with the tagline – Mom Makes, Son Sells in Kandivali, Mumbai.We have been serving home-made food since the past 21 years at nominal costs. So, when the lockdown was announced in March 2020, we naturally shut down the kitchen for a couple of weeks. However, in April, 2020,we started getting calls from hospitals near our locality asking for food for doctors and nurses on Covid-19 care duty. A lot of students, bachelors and professionals who couldn’t cook at home, started calling us for food. That’s when we realised that despite being well-off enough, there were many people who were facing difficulty in finding nutritious food on a daily basis. We were heartbroken to think of the needy who couldn’t afford any food or shelter and had not a single meal to eat during the day. Lockdown could be harsh for the unemployed.

I believe that ‘Thoughts become things’ and universe had to make a way. In May, one of our regular customers Abhinav Chaudhary wished to donate money for feeding 100 people. He asked me to find the needy people and feed them since he didn’t want to risk going out due to corona risk. I had posted an appreciation post on my social media handle regarding the first food donation activity during lockdown and soon people started to reach out to help with resources, purely on trust basis.

In first two days, we received Rs11,000 and then we started feeding the needy on daily basis. I continued to post pictures and videos of the food donation drive every week with the hashtag #AbhiSabNormalNaiHuaHai on all my posts. This message digitally reached people far and wide that situation on-ground was still grim and there were still many in need and facing a humanitarian crisis.

It is unbelievable how kindness is at the core of all humans. As on 22 November, 2020 (completing over 180 days of the cause), we had collected funds from 10 countries and 285 donors across the globe. Our fundraiser is still going on. We don’t see this stopping anytime soon since now it’s not just about feeding the needy during lockdown, it has become a long-term vision for us – A vision where we empower the entire supply chain.

I LOVE CYCLING: Being an avid cycling enthusiast, I’ll be completing my first 100 days cycling streak by mid-January 2021 with a final 200 kms ride from Mumbai to Lonavala and back.

From Jodhpur To San Juan, Here Are Top 10 Travel Destinations You Ought To Visit In 2020

Satiate The Wanderlust In You

All the travel junkies out there, if there is one listicle you must focus on, it’s this one. With 2019 travel goals (hopefully) met, it’s time to start planning for the 2020 holidays. Booking.com has delved into global booking trends to reveal 10 of the top emerging travel destinations for 2020.

Jodhpur from India has found its spot among the top 10 list, alongside some lesser known spots in Eastern Europe to under-the-radar spots in Asia. Commenting on the study, Ritu Mehrotra, Country Manager, India, Sri Lanka and Maldives for Booking.com said, “As we proceed towards a new decade, we will see travel becoming more and more sustainable and technologically-advanced, further aided by enhanced services and offerings that enable the modern day inquisitive traveller to experience the world.


81% of Indian travellers say that in 2020 they want to go somewhere that offers experiences they’ve never had before. From catering to their peaked interest in lesser known destinations to counter over-tourism, to customised travel recommendations, we want to ensure that the travellers have the most diverse selection of places to stay at as we help them prepare and plan their travel in 2020 and beyond.”

Here’s where you should be headed to satiate the wanderbug in you.

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