Every year I look forward to travel to my home country and people around me can actually feel my excitement level goes up as the day of my flight approaches.
However, that feeling was lost in 2020. I knew that I won’t be able to travel this year because of COVID19 and even if I could, I won’t just as a precaution.
But then, my brother’s wedding gets preponed to December 2020 from Summers 2021 and being my only brother, I couldn’t not attend the wedding. Although there was a time when flights were not operational and I knew that traveling outside the Kingdom could be a great risk until flights resumes fully without any doubt of another lockdown, I was mentally prepared for everything.
As soon as flights resumed, I booked my flight and started planning on what-to-wear on wedding functions, daily calls with my mom and sis on such wedding stuff.
Then just one week before I had to travel, COVID cases in my home country started to rise, my parents got diagnosed as positive, my grandmother’s health, who was already at bed rest from last six years, started to deteriorate. I, upon hearing that my parents have been diagnosed as COVID positive, postponed my flight.
I became depressed. Not because I had to postponed my flight but because of every other reason. On one hand, I was afraid to travel because of the sudden rise in cases and risking myself and my 2 year old with me but, on the other hand, I did not want to miss the wedding.
My parents recovered and I decided to travel for a period of one month only during which I would strictly stay indoor.
The day after I arrived in Pakistan, my paternal grandmother passed away. She couldn’t even get a chance to see me or her great-grandson one last time because of her health. I woke up next day with this news and I was unable to respond. I couldn’t hear her one last time, I couldn’t see her face one last time, I couldn’t attend her funeral as a precautionary measure. I miss her and I can only imagine how happy she would have been if she met her great-grandson and me.
She left us 9 days before my brother’s wedding and everything lost its charm. I could feel her absence and sadness that has surrounded us. We cancelled all the pre-wedding functions and our home has started to seem so quiet and not at all looks like a house that has a wedding coming up.
Wedding clothes are getting prepared, last minute shopping still going on, bride’s room being setup, invitations are being sent out, everything is being carried out like it should be, but something is terribly missing. I couldn’t feel that excitement around me or in my heart or on anyone’s face for that matter. And that is because we all are feeling the absence of my grandfather and grandmother but couldn’t say it out loud.
It’s not like how I imagined it would be. Many of our close relative and cousins would not be attending the wedding. We won’t be dancing and singing and munching on snacks till late night until our mind refuses to function any longer. We won’t be going out for after party. The dholkis (pre-wedding functions where people sit and sing), mayun won’t be happening. As I am writing this down, I am hating the silence that has engulfed my home in Pakistan.
2020 – You were not kind to many of us but still I am blessed and thankful to be alive and breathing.