“There are memories that time does not erase, forever does not make loss forgettable, only bearable.”
Memories, I believe are those which we hold close to our hearts, whether good or bad. We accept them and move on with our lives.
One such memory that I hold close to my heart is that which occurred during the 90’s which relates to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. I was 13 years old living in Kuwait during those days when this catastrophe took place. It was a normal summer morning. We siblings were enjoying our vacations with our father leaving to work and mother busy with her household chores. We kids turned on the television to pass our time but screen was blank and we never paid much heed thinking it must be due to some technical glitch. After few hours, my father returned from work with a confused and scared look. When confronted by mother, he informed us that city of Kuwait was invaded by Iraq and everything was under their regime. Telecommunication was shut off; the city was adorned with flags of Iraq and their beloved ruler, Mr Saddam Hussein. The whole city was wrapped in fear. Questions such as – What if the Iraqis would hold them as captives and take them to their country and make them labourers? What if the men were killed and women and girls would be raped? As days passed, the fear grew bigger with the time. Men in uniform were seen strutting around residential areas and the anxiety and fear of being captured always lurked in our minds to such an extent that going outdoors seemed to be a distant dream and we became prisoners in our homes. Bullet shots were heard which evoked fear of death in all. We prayed to the almighty for keeping us alive. Prayers were heard everywhere.
People of Kuwait had started making plans to flee the country leaving behind which they had accumulated all these years with their hard earned money as nothing else was more important than one’s own life. In that process, we started selling off our things as money was equally important to sustain in the coming days. We managed to flee the country, as rumors of a war breaking out between the American troops and Iraqi soldiers were doing the rounds. We and others set out by hiring a mini bus only to be dumped in a desert camp somewhere on the outskirts of Jordan on a cold and chilly night. The temperature was bad but god and blankets came to our rescue. Temporary tents were set up on rocky desert floors. Food was provided by the Red Cross charity organization. One was considered lucky if they managed to grab and stock food for survival. Luck was on our side, we had to bear this ordeal for a week. A ray of sunshine was dawned on us when the government of India decided to intervene seeing the pathetic living conditions of Indians stranded on a no-man’s -land and decided to evacuate all I back to our homeland, our soil, INDIA.
Tears of joy poured out from every single Indian as we felt we were cared, loved and wanted back in our country. The D-day arrived and we were taken via road to Jordan airport where a Russian air craft, Aeroflot, was waiting for us. We heaved a big sigh of relief as we seated ourselves and our hearts beating rapidly as the pilot announced the aircraft’s takeoff. Those moments cannot be explained. It’s a feeling you get when you are given a second chance to live and you didn’t expect that you would made it through. We at last land on our mother soil, fortunate to have made it all along till here, facing everything bravely. We unconsciously in our minds shouted out a big “Thank you” from the bottom of our hearts to everyone for giving us a second life.
These memories of having lived and survived that ordeal will forever be etched in my mind although 28 long years have passed by but as the saying goes, “People fade but memories don’t” holds true in every sense till date. To end I would say, God has given you this one life to live, feel blessed every day, every moment as nobody knows what’s in store for you tomorrow or the next minute . Whether you will live to see the light of day or not is not in your hands. So, feel privileged for every breath you take. Life’s unpredictable.