As flights restarted in India today after two months because of the coronavirus lockdown, a little boy in Bengaluru airport carrying a "special category" placard was among the most heartwarming sights of the day.
Five-year-old Vihaan Sharma travelled alone from Delhi and walked into the arms of his overjoyed mother at Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport. He travelled as a special category passenger.
"My five-year-old son Vihaan has travelled alone from Delhi, he has come back to Bengaluru after three months," his mother Manjeesh Sharma told news agency ANI, holding Vihaan, dressed in all-yellow with a matching mask and blue gloves.
Bengaluru airport tweeted: "Welcome home, Vihaan! #BLRairport is constantly working towards enabling the safe return of all our passengers."
Domestic flights operated on Monday for the first time since late-March, when the country went into lockdown to break the chain of coronavirus. Many were stuck in cities they were visiting when all flights were stopped. Among them was Vihaan, who had gone to visit his grandparents in Delhi in February.
Till 9 am today, Bengaluru airport had five flights in and 17 departures. Vihaan's flight was among them. Nine flights were cancelled.
The flights resumed after what Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said was "a long day of hard negotiations" on Sunday with various state governments that were not on board with the idea. With the number of coronavirus cases touching 1.3 lakh, the government has announced a series of dos and don'ts that would begin with social distancing at the airport and no-contact check in. The aviation minister has indicated that international flights could begin in June.
Those who took first flights included paramilitary personnel, army men, students and migrants who had failed to book a ticket on special trains being run by the railways.
With inputs from ANI