Monday, 9 June 2008

Staying Put at Home

Written on Thursday 05/06/08
Kokoi: my home Dhok (vicinity in village Gurutta) tehsil: Sehnsa district: Kotli AJK

Though I should be up and ready to return to the cauldron of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, my guilt of not spending adequate time with my family forces me to re-think my priorities.

Yes, my Naani's issue and Bashir's (The Wily Fox) issue do dominate my attention and time-horizon, though I do qualify that by linking both issues to wider concerns of public interest in the region. Nevertheless, creating balance between work and home is something that I've abysmally lacked at times. Making amends is the order of the day, so commands my wife.

Every aspect of one's life is interlinked I contend, neglecting one important aspect affects all others. If you were to look at the condition of my house, you would know exactly what I'm talking about. I've never been much of a 'domestic hand' and my water tank would testify to that.

Spending time at home also helps me re-evaluate my strategy. Questions like, "How do I make myself more effective with the 'powers that be' in Islamabad and New Delhi? For how much longer can I financially sustain myself, not having worked for the last 3 and so years? For how much longer will my family persevere with the frugality that I've imposed on them?"

Being virtually cut-off from the world isn't necessarily blissful after all.

Later in the evening, I phone the AC's assistant to find out if he's been able to prise out our file from the ISI yet....sadly not..."Hopefully by Monday", he apologetically informs me.

Taking my Naani through the long route i.e Gurutta to Lahore by car (c.350 kilometres) > Flying to Delhi and then to Jammu > Jammu to Mendhar by car (c.200 kilometres) is now perhaps my only realistic hope, despite my Naani having a vulnerable heart. Time is running out and taking her the 60 or so kilometres across the LOC could take another year at this rate.

Urvashi Butalia is a renowned writer in Delhi, who has done much laudable work on displaced families and is thankfully taking great interest in our case. She could I feel, make this family re-unification happen. I call her to find out how she's progressing. Urvashi in turn informs me that she'll be meeting the former deputy High Commissioner of India in Islamabad, who is now based in Delhi, on Monday.

Let's see what transpires.......

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