“There’s no place like home,” says an Indian expat who made it back to the UAE after spending 16 days and 15 nights in the Maldives, which she chose as her quarantine location.
Sherry Gupta and her husband Jatin, who had been stuck in India for almost two months, finally arrived at the Dubai International airport on Wednesday night and breathed a sigh of relief as they breezed through the formalities and arrived at their home in south Dubai.
Sherry has been in India since May 21 this year, visiting her family after her father died of Covid problems. Her husband has remained in Dubai. On July 19, the two reunited in the Maldives, where they stayed nearly two weeks before returning to Dubai on August 3. The pair said they paid roughly Dh50,000 to return to Dubai, their home for the past four years, after a voyage that was plagued with uncertainty.
“On May 2, 2021, I lost my father, who was in my hometown of Ludhiana in north India, but I couldn’t go there right once because I was weighing the implications of India’s travel ban. When my mother’s health began to deteriorate, however, She remarked, “I threw caution to the wind to be by her side.”
“On May 21, I flew to India. My mother developed mucormycosis, a side effect that arose in certain people during the second wave of the pandemic, and had to undergo surgery. We may have lost her if we were even a day late, according to the doctors.”
Sherry was ready to return to Dubai because her husband had become ill as a result of eating out for over a month.
She understood it would take time to resume flights, but she hoped it wouldn’t take more than a month because bookings from India to the UAE had already opened in June.
“If the worst happened, I figured I’d board a charter airplane back to the United States, as my friends who were delayed in India had done.” This gave me the courage to take off. But little did I realize that not only would the cost of a charter trip from India to the UAE climb to around Dh20,000, but that a slew of travel brokers would start duping travelers with dubious promises, leading to a slew of new scams.
As a result, charter flights were halted by the authorities. My only chance of returning to the UAE was dashed.”
This is when Sherry and Jatin decided to take a different route. Unfortunately, this meant not only spending more money, but also entering uncharted territory, which was fraught with uncertainty because travel laws were always changing.
“We considered travelling to Serbia or Armenia, but the 15-day stay would be prohibitively expensive, given the long-distance flights of up to 19 hours (connecting flights). Fortunately, on July 15, the Maldives opened its borders, and while it was expensive, it was just two hours from India and five hours from Dubai.
The Guptas made their tentative reservations since they didn’t know if they’d be allowed to fly or if they’d be prevented. “We didn’t want to lose money because things were a little hazy and rules were changing frequently. We have to tread carefully. We stayed at the Holiday Inn for seven days before upgrading to the Sun Siyam Iru Veli resort to see more of the Maldives.
“We weren’t sure when the flights would start,” Sherry recalled, “but being together on the island was therapeutic and we felt much more relaxed.” Put money aside for a rainy day.
Sherry and Jatin said that they have never been spendthrifts and have always promoted a saving culture. “I owe it to our parents to instill in us the value of saving and investing.
This is why we were able to accept the risk of spending a large sum of money to return to Dubai.”
“The most important thing I’ve taken away from this whole ordeal is the need of saving since we never know when we’ll be confronted with extraordinary circumstances.” “Our focus has always been on saving rather than spending, and we’ve seen how it’s come in handy when we needed it most,” Sherry added.
Groups that provide assistance
Sherry revealed that while she was in roughly five social media support groups, her husband was in 12 to 14 of them.
“People who shared their stories guided us,” she remarked. “Others were encouraged to follow in his footsteps. For example, we arrived in the Maldives on July 19, but there were some who arrived on July 16 and informed us of the necessary paperwork, documents, suitable resorts to stay in, quarantine restrictions, and so on. We did the same thing, sharing our experience with the groups by providing a check list to make their voyage easier.”
The Guptas stated that they have no regrets because they learned a lot from the journey, made a lot of friends, received help, and helped others.
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