Packup and leave

Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner. – (“Heat” the movie)

There are some events that you hear or read about but you never expect the same could happen to you. Something  happened to me recently. I was told that I was to leave the country where I was based and working for past 3 and half years within 6 hours because of a National Security issue. I have to clear airport immigration before the clock struck midnight. Will I be able to come back? Don’t know, may be. In a month. In three months. Never.

This post just details what went through my mind during this time. Though my  boss tried to pull some strings with the suggestion that I go home and pack and if he receives a positive signal by 7pm, I can stay otherwise I rush to the airport and catch the last leaving flight for home.

Fortunately, my wife and the newborn were in Pakistan otherwise that would have been an another layer to worry about. In essence, I had three hours to rush home, pack and leave for airport. With the heart racing and hands trembling, put yourself in my shoes and think what would you do in such a case.

The following thoughts were running through my mind, overlapping with each other, fighting for my attention:

  • The only liability I have is the lease on the car which I can’t do anything about at such short notice. Like the stories in the paper, I could leave the car at the airport and mail them the keys and location of the car from Pakistan. Thankfully I had not signed up for any mortgage.
  • I have enough savings in my account that I can live and maintain family comfortably for 4 to 5 months. Need to search for a new job but the situation is not desperate.
  • My son is not even a month old. I have to worry about providing for him and my wife. Need to find a job quickly. Should I call shake my network now at this moment in the early night or wait till I reach Pakistan next day. Should I call them tomorrow and sound desperate or wait a couple of days after reaching home and then give them a call so that I appear firm but not desperate?
  • I can only carry upto 30 kilos. My collection of books has to stay back. Have to take wife’s jewellery that she kept here because its unsafe in Pakistan. Pack a few formal shirts for interviews, a suit and few casual shirts and denim pants, sweaters. A laptop for hand carry. Along with the documents and papers, this came to around the luggage limit.
  • Call up my neighbour with whom I have very very good relations. Told him the story that I will be leaving in couple of hours and if I don’t come back, he will have to sell my furniture and equipment. If he gets any money from the sales, send it to me otherwise no worries.
  • I should pay the rent for the apartment if there is a chance that I can be back in a month, right? Today is the first of the month. But its a very big IF.
  • Check the papers that are scattered in various drawers and cabinet. Found my educational degrees, the original nikahnama, some cash that my wife had stowed away in various places and corners, tax payment receipts, receipts for installments for the house I am buying back home etc.
  • Should I call my wife now and ask her if she has any other place where she has hidden cash or wait till I get the signal to rush to the airport? If I call her now and it transpires that I am staying, then I would have needlessly worried her and the rest of the family and they would always worry about me if I am not there.
  • I should have stayed at the furnished apartment? The decision to move into a rented unfurnished apartment a year ago and spending huge amount on furnishing it according to me and my wife’s taste seems a total waste now.
  • In a desperate attempt called a friend in another country who had casually offered me a job a month ago and I had shown casual interest. Now asked him that if he still has the job for me. He said he has been transferred to different country but now in a taxi to airport as his mother his very sick and will give me a call after checking on her. Asks me I don’t seem my usual chirpy self this time over the phone. I said I have a lot on my mind. Will talk to him later. Cursed myself for being so desperate.
  • Took a last round through the house. Saw my shoes collection i.e., squash shoes, running shoes, soccer shoes, business casual shoes etc…could only pack one pair so packed my formal shoes and will be traveling wearing a converse pair.
  • Should I ask my neighbour to ship me the remaining clothes or just give them away. Some of them is old stuff that wife forgot to discard and I could never wear due to change in waistline. The cost of transporting it would be more than their worth. The books definitely he should ship them to me. There are some very expensive dresses of my wife. I can’t expect the neighbor to sift through the stuff and decide whats worth shipping.

سامان سو برس کا، پل کی خبر نہیں

The time is almost up and waiting for the boss to give me a call.

NB: If I feel inclined, I might write a prologue and an epilogue
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