Last week this time, we were at a lovely graduation ceremony, where people from around the world were presented with their PhD and Masters degrees. My better half was presented with his Masters of Science. It was a day of optimism and hope - with graduates and their families beaming with pride as those who worked hard towards their degrees stepped on stage to receive a piece of paper, which sets them a few steps closer towards achieving their goals.
Being who I am, a woman who carries her emotions on her sleeves, I couldn't hide the tears which were gushing out of no where. The more I tried to reason with myself that it was a day of happiness, the more the tears flowed. There was no way I could reason with the fluctuating emotions. As he stepped on stage to collect his degree, no feelings can describe how it feels to admire my handiwork. He completed a degree which others take at least three years to struggle with in a record eight months - and with flying colours.
Being married to a genius certainly has its perks - and in that multi-national audience, I walked with my head up high, cuddled by the warmth of an Indian couple, who are our surrogate family so far away from home. Santhosh and Sherry Shetty actually took the day off work, to be with us on our big day - and it meant the world to us.
Today Sherry was on the phone in tears - asking me what will happen when my better half wraps up his PhD and we return to our Wonderland. How often will I travel back to Canada and when will we meet again?
All I told her was that it is a small world - and our paths will certainly cross again.
With all the mayhem happening in Mumbai, the smallness of this world has been a constant feeling, squeezing my heart. People from all nationalities and walks of life were touched and impacted by the terror unleashed - in a war which isn't even theirs. Innocent by-standers were mowed down by the indiscriminate bullets of hate and terror for no other reason than they were at the wrong place, at the wrong time.
But what is the right place and the right time? There never is anything as such - and such acts of terror shouldn't have a place in this world. But that is the dreamer in me speaking - and reality is that there is so much unjustified hate and intolerance out there, it is scary to imagine what the future holds for us.
In the aftermath of the attacks on Mumbai, an Indian friend of mine, and a dear one to be more precise, wrote to me saying that he cannot imagine that I am a Muslim too. While this statement took me by surprise - I couldn't lash back at him as I would at a total stranger. This is someone who has known me for years and someone who has lived in Muslim countries and interacted with Muslims and knows that we are not all terrorists - or even accept such atrocities being committed in our name and the name of our religion.
Last week I was looking forward to tomorrow. Today, I just want to curl in a dark corner and shield myself far far away from this madness.