This was yet another slow-paced episode of Aab-e-Hayat but I would call it a ‘mood-setting’ episode. Umera Ahmed’s stories do not contain flashy words; rather she engages the readers with a strong build-up with simple language that makes you indulge in the situation the characters are facing. We readers have a strong complaint to make though, the episodes are getting smaller and smaller every month, and with slow pace, we do not get enough material to make our own speculations.
Salar is summoned to a meeting at World Bank Headquarters where he presents his case with all the facts and figures he could gather regarding the non-feasibility of the project in Congo. The panel however is unimpressed as each of them has their own benefits attached to that program. They try to convince Salar in every possible way to either resign silently (on account of personal reasons) or continue working on their terms. Salar however insists on either conducting an audit of the project or resigning on the terms of the report he presented. Failing to reach an agreement, the panel tries to buy off Salar. He leaves disheartened as he did not expect them to stoop this low. One of the higher officials Alexander Rafael attempts to lure Salar into a trap that he would be made the vice-president if he continues to work in that project in complete submission to the World Bank’s policies. Needless is to say that Salar refuses his offer straight away.
After leaving the office Salar feels a heavy burden regarding this dilemma and reviews his life which has been in turmoil lately. He tries to contact Imama but is unable to do so. He later comes to know that Petris Ibaka (who was also in USA) has had an accident in Washington and heavily wounded. He goes to see Ibaka dying in the Hospital, only to return to find that his travel documents and laptops have been stolen from his hotel room. Unable to comprehend this situation, he comes to realise that his phone signals have been controlled and he is secretly being stopped from contacting anyone (most probably by CIA). He manages to contact his father through public phone, who tells him later that Imama and the children are not at their home at Kinshasa. Apparently they have been abducted to an unkown place. Salar loses control at this news and feels more helpless and desperate than he did on the night he was tied up at Margalla hills.
He goes to meet Rafael first thing in the morning who tells him that the Bank is unable to help him as he has already resigned. Rafael also makes snide remarks about him that change Salar’s mind on asking any more help from him. At that moment Salar decides to leave the hope of finding Imama and children to Allah and also to end the World Bank’s dominance by establishing his own institute.
Meanwhile, Petris Ibaka dies in the hospital but he manages to do make sure that the World Bank sees its end.
In the last seen we see a man and a woman in a bar. The woman (Jacky) gets very attracted to the man who is not drinking alcohol and asks him to dance but he refuses. Jacky asks him if he believes in a one-night stand and he agrees.
Was Ibaka in New York or Washington?
At the begining of the episode it is said that Ibaka is fighting for his life in a hospital in New York. Later on we find out that he had an accident in Washington. Salar (who was in Washington) goes to see Ibaka and comes back to his hotel. Washington is at least at a 4 hours’ drive to New York. We do not get the notion that Salar travelled this much in a single day. So the question is whether he saw Ibaka in the hospital or someone else? Who was witnessing Ibaka’s surgery (if it was really Ibaka) that was mentioned in 9th episode?
What did Petris Ibaka Do to Ensure World Bank’s Doom?
Did Ibaka pass the evidences of corruption to someone who can actually make a difference? Or is it all up to Salar to do something about the program?
What Makes Salar’s Life So Restless?
What is it that makes Salar and Imama’s life so bumpy and restless? Is it because of Salar’s interest-based jobs in banks? Or is it because he is not serving the higher purpose for which he was gifted with an extra-ordinary IQ?
Is Salar’s Family Safe?
I think we can safely assume that Imama and children are not in immediate danger. Imama has been somewhat useless in this whole story and has a role yet to play. She might do something on her own to help Salar out of this situation.
Is That Salar in the Bar with Jacky?
The personality sketch of the person in the bar fits perfectly to Salar. But is it really him? If it is, then why on earth is he enjoying company of another woman? Or maybe this is a part of his plan.
This episode was solely focused on Salar, whose stubborn side was witnessed again. The way he loses control because of the possible jeopardy his wife and children might be in, was very touching. One can easily relate to the helplessness he feels. I would give 3 out of 5 for character development.
Pace was slow, and at times it was felt that things are repeated. A score of 2 would be appropriate for pace.
Overall, the episode bore many signature elements of Umera Ahmed’s pen. Apparently the story has many dimensions that are yet to be told. But if current pace and size of episodes is to be continued in future, I am afraid it would be a very long wait for us readers to reach to the end. All in all, I would give a score of 3.5 out of 5 to episode 10.
Please share your own review of Aab-e-Hayat in your comments:)