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Corona Virus in India and How I and my Business deals with it

Update:

As of today, March 25, 2020, the whole of India has been under a three-week curfew, as Modi announced yesterday at 8 pm in his second speech in a week.

Especially in the cities a bit of panic broke out: hasty shopping and departure to the villages.

India’s poor population, in particular, is struggling with the effects of the virus. Modi announced support.

In Himachal Pradesh, the mountain state in which I live, the lock down was established yesterday from 5 pm, because the population did not comply with the stricter requirements (no contact etc.) earlier.

Supply facilities are to be set up from tomorrow.

The police are strict and crack down. There is a threat of beatings and even imprisonment. However, with this large population, strict measures must be taken. Otherwise, no one here will stick to it.

David and I are doing well and we are both happy not to be alone. We are, of course, stuck here for at least three weeks now, but David could not have entered the EU anyway and I had rejected the German government’s offer to fly me out of  India with other stranded Germans three days ago. Now it is too late.

We are relatively well equipped, without toilet paper and red wine, but with rice and lentils we can survive with a few weeks. A Shank Prakshalan (yogic cleansing cure) or a fasting cure is almost a good option. I have to think about that.

An Indian friend of mine, recommends wearing the masks at home to protect us from overeating… Haha.

So riding bikes and other outdoor activities are not possible – the police are patrolling diligently and letting anyone who catches them make the “hen” or planks… So lot’s of time for yoga on the balcony and Indoor Training.

My yoga teacher Vishwa ji from Akhanda Yoga from Rishikesh offers  with the voucher word ” HARIOM” , 6 weeks free yoga classes.

In this sense Hari Om, stays healthy,

your Sarah

“Go Corona Go, go Corona Go”.

Indians almost always have a different approach than we Europeans would expect. In this way, they also use their strong (but) faith in Corona and try to fight the virus through peaceful demonstration, sacred ceremonies and indulgence letters.

Fortunately, the government is also taking further (strict) measures to keep Corona in check as far as possible.

India has the time factor as an advantage. While decisions such as school closures and curfews could not be made in China, Korea and Europe until the virus was already on the way through, India reacted quickly and imposed all these measures even before the great wave of viruses.

According to experts, India, Europe is about 2-4 weeks behind with the great Corona epidemic. So far, there have been 225 cases (4 deaths) – a tiny percentage of 1.3 billion Indians. But admittedly, once Corona starts to spread in India, there will be no end to it, with factors such as population density, poor hygienic conditions and a large volume of travel here.

But, as I said, India is doing everything it can to ensure that this does not happen too quickly, too violently, and therfore reacts immediately.

Pretty soon after the arrival of the first infected Italians, all visas for tourists who have not yet entered India have been invalidated until 15 April. Now there will be a flight ban in and out of India for at least a week with take-off on 23.3. This is intended to reduce the further contagion of Corona from abroad.

There is also a lot going on within the country: schools and universities are closed, hotels are closed, bus and train services are closed, shops are closed, gatherings of more than 20 people are forbidden, even the Taj Mahal and Co remains closed and, as I said, all this without a large number of Corona cases yet.

On Sunday, 22 March, there is something that the Indians call “Janata Curfew”. For one day people are asked not to leave their homes from 7 am to 9 pm. It seem to have only symbolic significance. But we should all either chant mantra at 3 pm or ring bells to send out positive vibrations. Without it, it wouldn’t be India!

So much for the Corona situation.

And what is the situation for me, Chalo! Travels and my guests?

Well, yes. I have the first time real “holiday” since March 2014, when I founded Chalo! Travels. Since then, there hasn’t been a single day when I haven’t been involved with it. Whether it’s just opening my email account, booking a flight or visiting an accommodation, or even accompanying a trip or planning a tour. Not great jobs, but I was always “on”.

Even if I was on a Himalayan tour for two weeks, where I didn’t have a network or internet, I was still busy for Chalo! travels.

Especially in 2019 and early 2020 was very intense, when Chalo! Travels developed more! Moving more and more to a well-functioning travel company with tasks that were to be carried out.  For -me as an individual in the total sum became quite time-consuming, especially since I also accompanied quite a lot of trips myself. In itself a really positive thing, but the amount of work became so much that I hardly had time for myself as a private person and was also no longer sure whether Chalo! Travels moves in a direction I still wanted.

I wanted time for myself and time with my boyfriend, whom I only saw every few weeks for just a few days. And time to get on with Chalo! Travels.

The fact that this time  came now so suddenly and without my intervention was of course a surprise.

The day before I wanted to leave for Kerala for two more trips, the news  came out, that no more entries into India were allowed.

Of course, this meant acting quickly: get in touch with the guests, cancel bookings, etc. But then it became quiet.

Of course, the restrictions around the Corona virus affect me in my business just as much as other companies (in the tourism sector).

No tours, no income. No bookings mean no tours.

Luckily, I only had four bookings until the summer. Two yoga trips in Kerala, which I would have accompanied and which I personally would have liked, as well as two private trips. I hope these trips can be made up at some point.

All trips had to be cancelled and travel expenses refunded. Here I am lucky that all my partners were so cultish on the outskirts, and postpone the payments for future bookings – so at some point you all have to travel back to India :).

By the way, three of my guests came to India just in time before the entry ban to travel across India with my guide Dikshika. Today they fly to their last station: Kerala. So far everything has gone well and I can put this trip under another new experience. In fact, the journey had to be changed and adapted here and there. The guests are doing well and don’t want to go back to Germany :).

With the uncertain future that Corona brings, of course no India trips are booked now. So I can shift my energy from hard work to long-term work: website maintenance, designing new trips, thinking about the future of Chalo! Travels.

Admittedly, except for the latter, I let the work approach very leisurely, because now is finally time for myself again!

And surprise! I had to learn that again!

Time for me, of course, means not only “living into the day” (only a little bit), but for me above all valuable time with myself – and with my boyfriend. All other social contacts are forbidden of course.

So I’m doing what’s good for me and I’ve been putting behing in the last few weeks and months. These are mainly sports, yoga and my harmonium play. I also cook a lot, healthy and delicious, which works excellently in India with all the fresh ingredients.

In addition, I have finally started to immerse myself more intensively in Ayurveda and am currently doing an Ayurveda online course.  I enjoy educating myself and immersing myself in this great sister science of yoga.

As soon as human contact is allowed again, further practical training is planned.

I’m also in close contact with an Indian friend and yoga teacher (some of you will know Noor from Delhi sightseeing tours and yoga treks). Together we want to found a yoga school in India to offer you certified yoga teacher trainings as early as next year.

Other projects, such as the implementation of a cookbook with Rekha from Jodhpur, as well as the search for a beautiful patch of land in the mountain state of Uttrakhand, have to be postponed a little until Corona makes travel and human contact possible again.

But that’s a good thing, otherwise I’d be back on and off and have no time for myself, besides all the ideas.

In this sense, stay healthy, be nice to yourself, discover old and new hobbies and then hopefully this intense time will soon be well over.