I have family in Pakistan.: an uncle who’s never seen my daughters.
It’s hard for him to travel. As a Hindu in Pakistan, he’s always been nervous about leaving his thriving business not knowing if the authorities won’t find a reason to confiscate it in his absence. And these days he’s partly restricted to a wheelchair, so he’s not going to be making this long trip to see me and the kids.
My whole growing up years were spent in a fever of excitement for the Christmases when we went back to visit the Indian family. I would love my girls to have the same feeling.
I’ve taken them to India a couple of times already, and was planning a trip back to Pakistan this year, but stories like this one are making me think again.
I can’t imagine the grief and fear this family is going through now. And no matter how hard I try to imgaine myself in the most desperate cicrumstances, I can’t put myself in the mindset of people who would steal a child in front of his family’s anguished eyes - just for a ransom.
Imagine what 5 year-old Sahil must be going through now: the terror of being in the hands of strangers who speak a language he doesn’t understand, in a situation he couldn’t possibly begin to comprehend.
What message is this giving out to the millions of us in the diaspora who love our families back home? Who want to retain the ties with family and country, have money to spend when we get there, but also want our children safe. For me, going back to India meant that I would be in the safest nest of all – the loving arms of lots and lots of family. Sahil’s kidnapping is a betrayal of so many different forms of childish trust.
I don’t know if my love for my family can overcome the fear I have for my children’s safety.