If you’re Indian, having innumerable cousins is a must. I mean, to the point that even if a stranger walked up to you and said “You know what? We’re cousins!” you wouldn’t be surprised. You’d just accept it. And tons of cousins mean tons of weddings. Instead of one big wedding a year, more like one per month (or even a week depending on how many kids your great grandparents decided to have). As a result, you grow pretty close to many of these cousins, having spent quite a few sleepless nights together and performing an array of different wedding rituals. So naturally, the first idea that pops into your head as your high school graduation nears you is to plan a trip with a group of your closest cousins!
Fortunately, all our parents were pretty chill about the idea. Even though they didn’t trust their own kid to be responsible enough, they trusted the kid of their forth cousin to be (Thanks mom and dad). The biggest decision was deciding on a single place. All of us had different places we wanted to visit and different adventures that we wanted to experience. The main decision came down to choosing between Turkey and Greece. Greece has always been a dream destination for me thanks to all the Percy Jackson books that I’ve read. Greek mythology absolutely fascinates me and being able to travel there with some of the most amazing people I know would be like a dream come true. Finally, everyone agreed on Greece and we saw our plan gradually taking some shape.
We finalized the dates next, which was a pretty big ordeal. With my IB examinations (they were still on when we made the plan), a cousin’s pre-med coursework deadlines, my brother’s board examinations and another cousin’s university tests, finding a 2 week empty slot was almost impossible. To top that off, almost all of us already had travel plans with friends! But that didn’t stop us. We moved things around and finally produced dates during which all of us were free (or at least didn’t have anything too important to miss). We finalized our flight tickets for a round trip between India and Greece and all that was left to do, was pay for them. The virus had already made the headlines though, and now our parents were a little weary. However, we didn’t lose hope and decided to wait to actually pay for the flight tickets and carry on planning what we would do inside Greece.
Some places we were sure we wanted to visit were Athens, Crete, Santorini and Mykonos. We started looking for hotels and cute Airbnbs that were perfectly located. I remember spending night after night rapidly texting and sending links on the cousins group that we’d made for this trip. We found the perfect places to stay the night and activities that our friends had recommended to us. The plan was almost perfect. All that we needed now was the entire breakout situation to blow over, pay for the flight tickets, and board the airplane.
We couldn’t contain our excitement as we texted each other almost every day. But then the number of cases started escalating, flights began getting canceled and our parents started frowning upon the plan altogether. We realized just how impossible our trip now was and slowly lost all hope. I suppose we shouldn’t have gotten so excited in the first place, but the fact that all our plans and dreams came crashing down was quite a blow. Though we realize that there will be time in the future to go on trips and perhaps even Greece, this was probably going to be the last time all of my closest cousins and I would be able to travel together. Come Fall, and we’ll all be scattered across the globe, only sending each other occasional memes that remind us of each other.
I realize that to most, our sadness over a canceled plan is probably trivial and not really that big of a deal in comparison to the grief all around the world. But for someone who loves traveling and to have the opportunity to have a unique traveling experience with people who know everything about them slip through their fingers, this event was quite a shock. Though I am absolutely sure that I will visit Greece one day, I doubt it’ll be as fascinating as it would’ve been with the phenomenal company of my cousins. I guess I’ll just have to improve my Photoshop skills by the time I visit Greece and somehow manage to perfectly add them into the pictures!
– Just Another Magical Soul