In June 2002, the US embassy put out an advisory for all foreigners to leave India. Pakistan was threatening to drop a nuclear bomb on Delhi.
The thought of leaving our community was horrible. “Not even an option!” Tony made some calls to our relatives who advised otherwise. They felt it would be irresponsible of us to not think about our children.
We made some emergency plans which in retrospect were quite silly ones. If a bomb was dropped, there was no way on earth we were going to be able to drive our car from Delhi to Mussoorie. We couldn’t even drive to our local market on a normal day without getting stuck in a traffic jam. The panicky pictures we painted in our minds and to each other were all horrendous and futile, bordering on comical.
We lay awake wondering: If we left the country, when would we ever get back? What would happen to our Delhi community? How could we abandon our family? Could we take them all with us? What about our kids? They were our priority. We were torn.
The threat came and went and came and went.. and with it our fear. Love for the community grew. Were we going to run away like hirelings? No. We were shepherds. Our kids were our first sheep and we never wanted to put them in danger. We were also in love with the “community sheep” who would have been harassed and helpless without a shepherd.
The test was real. Would we run away at the first sign of trouble? Would we pack up our things, head for a safe, foreign land and leave behind those who had no option but to stay?
One night as we lay in the dark, peace descended on us. We decided we would only go if the Indian Government demanded it ( and even then, we wondered how we could camouflage ourselves without looking too much like Peter Sellers in The Party 🙂
The kids each got a new backpack with a few emergency items, which they kept on their beds. Within a couple of days, the snacks had been eaten during midnight feasts and the bags were used for storing things.
“They” say, “Most of what we fear never happens.” I have found this to be very true. Fear can be paralysingly real. It has the power to control. It has the power to stop us dead in our tracks. It disturbs our peace and limits our ability to experience freedom and love. It affects our destiny.
We decided, after much turmoil and stress, to grab fear by the throat and hold it against the wall. When we looked it in the eye, we were surprised at it’s timidity.
See more of my posts on fear. Yes, I’ve had issues 🙂
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