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Roadtrips and Family Love

Photo of the Kumaon mountain range, taken by Sheetal Thakur

This is a blog about roadtrips. But it’s also being far away from the place where you grow up and finding family in that new place.

A little about me: I grew up in Philadelphia, in the USA, but have been living in India now for about six years (non-consecutively, although this current stretch has been about two and a half years). Most of my extended family is based in the United States. When the pandemic first hit, my family urged me to come back to the USA but I wanted to stay here, In India.

To be clear, I have been very lucky during the pandemic in a way that not everyone was (and which I think is important to acknowledge). But like many of us have in the pandemic, I experienced bouts of sadness and loneliness while confined to my flat. This is where the Saprus come in.

I met Sarojini in 2017, when we were studying together in London. We got on like a house on fire, and we still do (nobody else would find our jokes funny the way that we do ). When I shifted to India after we completed our Masters, Sonya quickly adopted me. Even though I was living in semi-rural Rajasthan, she looked after me, had me come and stay when I was dealing with rough patches.

The Saprus have always been there - they have been my family since I’ve shifted back to India - but they have especially been here through out the pandemic. The first two months of lockdown, they took me and my pup in. I go over to their house for a meal once a week. These are all things that have kept my spirits up - having family love around me.

I think many of us were feeling forlorn about the holidays and news years being so quiet this year. I certainly was. But once again, the Saprus came to the rescue. They were driving up to Dwarson, in Uttarakhand and invited me to join. We took COVID tests and were on our way.

Image: Tali and Rakesh, on a mountain walk

There is something so exciting about a roadtrip with loved ones. There are the incredible sites, the silly conversations, the snacks, the mix of fatigue and excitement when you finally reach after a ten hour drive. And then, of course, there’s your destination. The ten days we spent in Uttarakhand were incredible - the fresh air, the nights spent talking and poking fun at eachother while drinking and sitting in front of the fire. It was a start to the new year that reminded me I had family, and that I love and was loved.

With all this in mind, I think during this time when you’re feeling low don’t be afraid to turn to loved ones around you - whether it’s the family you are born into or your chosen family. Look for ways to spend time with them - whether it’s regular zoom calls or a (COVID - sensitive) roadtrip. You love and are loved and that is something important to remember during this time.

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