"Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going."
- Paul Theroux

Views & Interviews

Q&A: Young professionals react to “holiday plans on hold”

April 2020

In the last months of 2019, people looked at 2020 as the turnaround year for business and enterprise, building up to a year of strong consolidation. The anticipation was short-lived as Covid-19 literally took the world by storm. As we present this story, the world is no longer the same – but we always have tomorrow to look forward to. (We do.)

This month’s Q&A session reflects the thoughts, feelings and emotions of people who actually planned to go on vacation during March / April this year. With bookings made, all they needed to do was pack their bags.

However, these conversations also reflect an understanding of the current situation. People are overcoming their initial disappointment with responsible thinking.

We now share some excerpts from our brief interviews with five young professionals who eventually talk about the bigger picture. They see themselves playing a responsible role in helping their families and local communities to understand the need of the hour – which is staying focused, staying resilient and staying safe.

Mallika Kumar – IT consultant

Every year, we make a beeline to our home resort when it is vacation-time for the kids. At the beginning of this year, April seemed to be just right – bright, beautiful and vacation-friendly. Well, it still is bright and beautiful in a way, but there’s an overlay of gloom and uncertainty due to the Covid-19 situation. For us, the transition from vacation mode, to lockdown mode has been a challenge of sorts – it’s like a domino effect with a really long trail.

At the end of the day, I am happy with the way we have handled the situation. This is the time to join hands with the people in our community and enable safety goals in the many ways we need to do it. (Holiday plans can wait – we have an entire life ahead of us.)

Veena Bhaskaran – interior designer

I remember as a child, I was promised a doll for my birthday and was eventually given something else instead. My parents had a good reason, but that was not good enough for me - I pulled a long face for one whole week. But after one week, things didn’t look so bad - I could actually do without that doll. It was not the end of the world for me.

I draw from this experience to influence my family’s response to a holiday plan that was put on hold – it was sad because a lot of effort went into planning that holiday. But after two weeks of looking at world events, the true picture began to emerge – with clips on TV and social media showing so many people who could be homeless, starving, or plain unlucky.

This is clearly a global issue and we are all in it together. We need to focus on priorities and work at keeping our family safe and our community insulated. If we can survive this, we can look forward to the next holiday season – or the nearest holiday calendar that clears up.

Gauri Srinivasan – investment advisor

For me the hardest part was to convince my children that our holiday plans were on hold this year. And it takes a little effort and patience to make any child understand what is possible now, and what is not. (And what each member of the family must do to help.)

What makes things easier for me is the fact that my husband too, is on the work-at-home mode – giving me an extra pair of hands. He even helps with entertaining the children and making sure they do their assignments.

The bigger issues are linked to managing work, household chores and shopping for essentials. Every new day brings with it a new set of challenges and experiences, but we are spending “together time” in some very engaging ways.

Aarti Nayak – graphic designer

All these years, planning your work-life balance meant dealing with work and dealing with free time. And free time sometimes meant a holiday with the family. And to think that I would – at this very moment – been on vacation at my favorite resort, probably reading a book in a hammock. (With a comforting health drink close at hand.)

But let me do a reality check. While the holiday remains a distant dream, I am now aware of the situation that we seem to be in. The big consolation here is that my family is safe and we are all active and healthy. I am just waiting for the day I can venture out without fear, knowing that things are back to normal.

Rajiv Agarwal – independent architect

My wife and I were looking forward to a holiday around this time and we had coordinated our calendars to enable a really well-deserved vacation. We had ensured that that all work would be completed without leaving behind work-in-progress, or loose ends.

And then, Covid-19 happened. An unseen enemy that had the power to suddenly take over our lives in a manner that life came to a standstill. But I’m keeping the faith. I think this could be a phase we need to survive and then bounce back at an opportune time.

So what we are doing now is watching re-runs of travel shows and looking through our own vacation videos, to relive the experience. I think this is the closest we can come to a vacation this year.

Comment from the team at AIRDA:

With your work-from-home routines, you must be having a difficult time going through your day, week after week. I think we are all doing our bit, and doing it well – even if it means checking if the potatoes are done, in between team meetings and sessions.

A lot of good work has also been done by our administration to contain the spread of the virus. It’s a difficult job and does not come with a user manual. So we need to follow safety guidelines and instructions to make sure we insulate ourselves adequately during lockdown periods.

And that means not crossing the line.

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