Chapter 24: The Absurdity of Hope


When Pandora’s curiosity got the better of her, setting free heaps of troubles upon this world, by great good fortune the worst of the lot managed to remain locked up: foreboding. Knowledge of future events, mostly ones you’d really not like to know about.

There’s a good reason people can’t see the future— it makes you believe you can change it. (And then again, if you could see your future, perhaps you really could change it. Who knows?) Most of us don’t consider the future as given—no matter what our beliefs and value systems.  Most people are obstinate in thinking they can change the track of their lives and can lead better ones than those who went ahead of them. You and I are no different. But sometimes, just sometimes, you wish that hope wouldn’t be so darn tenacious; that you’d know when was the right moment to let go. You wish you wouldn’t keep holding on for far too long. But that, precisely, was what we were doing.

Beginning October 2012, when I shifted to Aligarh, month after month passed with the Omani company holding our little family on tenterhooks; no visa in sight. Several times I urged Sajjad to just get us back to Delhi so we could go on living like we had, and we’d move when the time came. But here’s the thing: they never postponed the date by more than a fortnight or a month, so we couldn’t  plan ahead. Each time I reminded Sajjad of getting a house, he’d remind me back that a rent agreement would legally require us to stay in Delhi for at least a year. And then what would we do when the time came to move?

To be fair, though, he wasn’t the only one to blame for this. Mea Culpa as well.

I, too, was eager to taste the pure, fresh air of a distant land, a country with better roads, better houses, better facilities, stronger currency and all the promise of a better life. Most of all, I was just holding my breath to set foot into the port town of Muscat, that I imagined would be my home for the next several years. The sea speaks to my soul like nothing else, and to spend every weekend by the sea was a glorious dream that was just about to come true… Plus, look up Muscat and you’d see it is a city with pleasures galore—turtle beaches, whale watching, magical underwater caves, ancient forts, hot water springs….who wouldn’t want to be there?

And then again, that little mentioned but all-important reason: distant lands mean heavenly distance from pokey, nosey relatives and those people forever wanting to know what you were up to. They also mean that over-grown momma’s boys can’t keep rushing to their mommas three cities away every weekend or fortnight. Oh well.

Whatever the reasons, the dream kept dangling itself before our noses, just a little beyond our reach—not far enough to make us forget it  and not near enough to make us grab it. Meanwhile, the carefully woven tapestry of our marriage kept unravelling, one thread at a time.

Sometimes I wonder if letting foreboding escape might not have been such a bad idea after all.

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