The first two weeks of January have been super busy. Getting ready to travel to India and traveling there in the midst of a pandemic has been interesting and challenging.

There is a patchwork of entry rules to various countries. India classified certain countries as “at risk” due to rapid spread of OMicron. The US is inexplicably not in that list despite recording record number of cases. Somehow, the logic that US OMicron virus is not as transmissible as the rest seems reasonable to the Indian health bureaucrat.

Starting Jan 11, India imposed a blanket one week home quarantine for all international travelers, regardless of test status at entry. Effectiveness of home quarantines for -ve testers is very impactful. There is just no compelling reason to make a long trip to India, if one has to stay put in place.

Leaving all that madness aside, Srirangam has been an oasis for the mind and body. We jumped headlong into the Thai festival that was in progress. The celebration was done outdoors and inside the temple complex as a nod to the virus. During the Thai festival, Lord Rangatha is carried around the streets in different transports (“Vahanam”). Garuda, Hanuman, Elephant, Horse, Snake, Swan among others. Tastefully decorated, each Vahanam allows Lord Ranganatha to express himself in various styles of movement. Sometimes, He strides side to side, sometimes He runs, sometimes he walks, sometimes He stands. The last day of the festival, He is carried in a tall chariot (“ther”) around the innermost street of the temple.