Two youngsters from Kochi on nationwide tour, creating awareness about COVID-19 vaccination

Salil K.R. and Rajesh G. Thayyil during their all-India tour that began from Kochi on September 1.  

When a man frantically waved their vehicle down at Gundlupet in Karnataka, Salil K.R. and Rajesh G. Thayyil, two Kochi-based youngsters on a nationwide tour, were apprehensive.

It turned out that their SUV sporting stickers of the travel route so captured the imagination of 24-year-old Chetan, an architect and travel enthusiast, that he wanted to meet the duo. The three struck an instant camaraderie as Mr. Chetan served them a local delicacy and even paid in advance the bill of the hotel at Mysore, where Mr. Salil and Mr. Thayyil were headed.

“We have been floored by the show of love in the short period since we started our trip from Kochi on September 1. We have with us sixty 50-gram-packets of premium quality cardamom, which we gift to people along the way as a token of our appreciation for their help and to popularise Kerala’s status as the home of spices,” said Mr. Salil.

By the time they return about four months later, the duo would have toured 28 States and six Union Territories, creating awareness about COVID-19 vaccination and the preservation of wildlife.

They have so far covered Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Goa. What surprised them during the trip was the near-total absence of masks and other COVID-19 protocols in many places. “It is as if the pandemic has vanished altogether,” said Mr. Thayyil, who quit his job in West Asia and bought an SUV to fulfil his dream of touring India.

The travellers wear laminated copies of their vaccination certificates as tags. “We are documenting the entire trip visually, for which we have invested considerably in premium gadgets,” said Mr. Salil, who runs a travel agency in Kochi.

They plan to visit places considered the four corners of the country and collect a fistful of soil from there. “We have already visited Kanyakumari and will also visit a village each in Gujarat, Ladakh, and Arunachal Pradesh considered the other three corners,” said Mr. Thayyil.

On Monday, they effected a complete detour and decided to go straight to Leh from Goa. “The road connecting Leh to Manali will be closed once it starts snowing. So, we are heading straight to Srinagar now and will visit the other States on our way back,” said Mr. Salil.

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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 12:39:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/two-youngsters-from-kochi-on-nationwide-tour-creating-awareness-about-covid-19-vaccination/article36427261.ece

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