Before I left for India, I got a notification that India has dropped the need for a COVID test to be conducted within 72 hours before the departure. I was pleased as my journey will be that much easier. However, I was told that I still need to fill in details of our vaccinations in air suvidha portal along with our passport and OCI information. I completed all of that well ahead of my trip and took a copy of what I needed to fill in. When I checked in at the airport to depart to India, the checking in counter personnel told me to produce original vaccination cards. Even though as an extra careful person, I carried it with me, I was shocked by this demand as it was never mentioned anywhere including by the airline as a travel need. Luckily, I carried it and met that requirement. When I landed in India, the immigration and customs were uneventful and no one even looked at my air suvidha documents nor there was a process to select 2% of the total passengers for surprise COVID test. When I was preparing for the return trip to the US, I was looking at the requirements for return journey and it was clear to me that I need a test results for all three of us within a day prior to our departure. I started doing my study of the requirements. The lab should be ICMR approved and the report should be dated one day prior to the departure and not necessarily 24 hours prior to the departure. I called my airline to understand the needs and they told me that the COVID test and the vaccination cards should be good enough to travel. I used Google to searh ICMR approved lab and I found a number of labs in Chennai. In some cases, the business names and the approved names in the ICMR list are different. I reconciled them to find out who is who. I also took the help of people who traveled to the US before and they told me where they took the test. Finally, I narrowed in on three labs and decided to go with one as the person agreed to do the test at home in the earnly morning hours and send the report no later than 4:30 p.m. the same day. However, despite several follow up calls he did not show up on time. Finally, he showed up at around 10 a.m. with me asking over and over again whether the report will be ready by 4:30 p.m. and he confirmed it would be. I got a notification via Whatsapp at 1 p.m. that the test materials were received by the lab. I noticed a message in broken english from a guy who did the test that said "Only mother's is okay". My heart went up as I thought my wife and I have a positive report as we are the only two who moved around a lot. Finally, I get him on the phone and he told me that only her passport copy I sent via Whatsapp came clearly and I need to resend my wife's and mine once again. I was thanking my stars and resent those copies as I wanted to make sure the reports have the right name and right spelling. As promised, the report was received in WhatsApp much before 4:30 p.m. and when I opened the pdf one after another looking for conclusions, each one of the reports said "negative" even though the report ran into two pages including comments such as a negative report doesn't necessarily mean the patient doesn't have COVID. Finally, all the reports are in. As a caution, I requested the original of the report which I had someone collect it from the lab on my behalf. We reach Chennai airport huffing and puffing only to be told that the local Vistara airline counter will open only 2 hours before the departure time as the staff had gone for lunch. This is to request a wheel chair for my mother-in-law. My wife who is supposed to be also in the wheel chair due to her knee surgery finally ran around to find someone from Air India who would help send a wheel chair for my mother-in-law while my wife decides to walk with all her bags. When we reached the entrance door, the security told me that United Airline has given only their UA Flight # and it should have a local Vistara number for which we need to wait until Vistara counter opens. Finally, a guy opens the counter. He asked me to wait for 5 minutes while he can wear a tie and coat and then until the computer responds. Finally, he gives a print out that all three of us supposed to travel to Delhi from Chennai. The security allows us to enter the airport. Finally, we get to the Vistara counter where we found a pleasing staff who not only checked in all of our baggages to the final destination but also printed out boarding passes for all the segments. He mentioned to me that I should hold on to the receipt for baggages but told that United in Delhi will reissue the boarding passes. He also explained that the first port of entry in the US is where I need to go through the immigration and customs (which I knew but I liked his systematic approach) and gave the pass for us to go and rest in their waiting room. He also explained only United in Delhi will check the requirements with reference to COVID protocol. Waiting room was full and we could barely find a seat to be seated but they offered excellent food before our departure. Finally, the staff who took us to the waiting room arrived to take us to the gate and we safely boarded the plane. The plane landed in Delhi and Vistara staff was efficient in moving us to the United terminal. When the flight landed at 8 p.m., United categorically told us that their counter will open only at 10 a.m. and asked us to wait where barely there were seats. Finally, the counter opened after 2 hours and we began checking in. A guy came to check COVID protocol while I was standing on the line. I asked him what are the documents needed to comply with COVID protocol. He said he needs just a negative report either online or a print out. He said the vaccination cards are not needed for those returning to the US unless they are residents of India. I show my Whatsapp message and he barely looked at the report that said negative and cleared us quickly. After that we moved to the security where they literally stripped my belt and shoes. Besides they asked me to take out all the cell phones in my bag, every key inside my bag, my wallet, etc. before clearing my security. They also did a thorough search of my MIL. Finally, we boarded the plane preparing for the grueling 17 hours non-stop journey. We had 61 wheel-chair passengers in our plane and the way it was handled in the port of entry was outstanding. We reached immigration and customs quickly, cleared our bags and went through the customs so quickly. The security was easier and finally we reached our gate and boarded the plane. When it was about to take-off, the pilot announced that we got a bad news that there was a storm crossing Florida and our flight can't leave for another 3 hours. They asked us all to get off the plane. I don't have to explain how hard it is to move my wheel-chaired MIL. Finally, the flight left 3 hours later and we got back home on Thursday. Will I travel international again? I sure will to experience all of that once again. Each experience is unique and different.