neurotic Iraqi wife
February 19, 2008
The Dark, Meaningless Oblivion...
Sunday was a holiday for us, I guess President’s day. Whenever the US celebrates a holiday on Monday, we usually take that Sunday off. Company policy is you can work upto 2 hours, not more on holidays, unless you ask permission from the Prog Manager for more. I myself definitely didn’t ask for extra hours. I found out lately, that by taking a day off, makes a helluva difference in my energy and attitude levels. I remember how I used to tease V for taking Fridays off. I never used to understand how the hell can someone spend one whole day in that small hole of a room that we have. Little did I know then.
Ok enough of me, now to something different. Last week, unlike this one which has been filled with dust and cold winds, had a very beautiful summery feel. So the smoke breaks became extremely enjoyable while basking under the Baghdadi sunshine. A few of the IT guys came out to smoke, saw me, pulled their chairs next to mine and started relaying their story day after day. It kinda became like a soap opera, where I sit and wait for updates. H is a new recruit and a fresh graduate. He’s probably been here 2 or 3 months.
H has fallen in love with his university colleague for a few years now. Two weeks ago they decided to take things further and get engaged. Usually in our culture, if you’re from a somehow open minded family, the girl would open up to her mom, tell her that there’s someone interested in her, and would like to meet the family. The mom, would then probe with questions, find out more about the guy, then inform the father of the news.
I’ll call the girl in question Rose, since Valentines Day was just a few days ago. So Rose went ahead and opened the subject with her mom. Now mind you H is Shia, and Rose is a Sunni from Samarra. When the mom heard about H’s sect, she became extremely reluctant and asked Rose to forget about it for now. Rose tried to tell her that these things shouldn’t matter, but the mom said that a difference in sect makes a lot of a difference especially in today’s Iraq. Its far too dangerous. Too dangerous.
Rose became depressed, and H tried to calm her down. Its not fair she kept telling him, this is not fair. H knew this wasn’t fair but he had other plans. The only people that know of H’s real job are his parents. Apart from that, no one else knows that he works here. As for Rose, he told her that he works in one of the Ministries during the day and at his father’s office in the afternoon, (for her own safety). Hence, his salary is a bit higher than the rest of the guys their age. He had also mentioned to Rose that there is a great chance of him going to the States, ofcourse not mentioning anything about the special immigrant visa that he can apply to when he passes the 12 month period.
When the mom saw Rose’s grim state, she felt bad, and started to break the ice by asking more questions about H, his family, his job, and his future plans. When she asked her where would they live in the event they do get married, Rose answered the States. The mom asked Rose, how is it possible to go to the States, all Rose said was that H, was promised by someone he works with at the Ministry an opportunity of going there. Now, it’s the mom’s turn to inform the father and its upto the dad to decide..
Come today, and as I was stepping out for a smoke, I glimpsed H in the hallway. He looked grief stricken. I asked for an update, all he said was, its over, Neurotica. “What? whats over?” I asked. The father refused and asked Rose to forget about the whole thing. He said “over my dead body you will marry this guy. He didn’t even wanna hear of it, doesn’t want to even meet me Neurotica, doesn’t want to gove me a chance” I didn’t know what to say. I felt anger seeping from me. “The thing that really gets to me, is the fact that the dad is an educated professor, he should be more understanding, more open minded. If THIS well educated man thinks in this backward manner, then why do we go blaming the illiterate and uneducated people for following their sectarian leaders???Why Neurotica?”
I guess I ask the same question here. Why do we blame the blind followers when the highly educated people are even more ignorant? Its sad, really sad, to see how these sectarian differences that run more than 1400 years, can rip a love so young, so pure in this day and age. H ofcourse is not the only one, but his story is real, as real as it gets. Thousands of people were forced to get a divorce because of these issues. Again, this is one of this war’s many phenomenas. Where stone age thoughts prevails, where ignorance dwells. Valentines or no Valentines, certainly H can care less. He’s heartbroken. Heartbroken and shot. Shot into the oblivion. The Dark, Meaningless Oblivion…