I’m yet to travel overseas and I yearn for it. The yearning gets deeper when I see other people sharing their photographs, experiences, exquisite and eclectic knowledge on Social Media. Lucky them! As I confess this, a part of me immediately comes forward to salvage me from low self-esteem. It is not that I’ve not got a chance to go international. Thrice till now, for free, and I turned them down.

In 2009, in my first job, just after three months I got a call at 9 PM from my company’s co-founder.

“Do you have a passport?”

He inquired. I did not have one but later out of excitement, I went around asking everyone in the PG as to why did he ask this? “Probably they want to send you abroad.” I was elated. After all, I will be the first person from my clan to go abroad. My parents always compared me with other kids and I thought this is the perfect time to prove them my worth. I agreed and applied for a Tatkal passport. In about 3 weeks, HR called me in her cabin and confirmed that I’m being sent to Singapore on a six-month project work.

I got anxious as I came to know that I have to go alone and share the flat there with my male co-founder. What if he would rape me? What if I get into a consensual sex? He is intelligent, attractive and we will live together in a flat and intimacy can happen. The HR tried to allay my fears.

“Look, even I went to Malaysia and shared the one bedroom flat with my colleague. There are two bathrooms and one is a master bedroom. You can keep that room for yourself. It’s perfectly safe.”

I was still not sure. With mixed emotions, I went home. The next one month was spent in doing visa formalities, ticket bookings, currency arrangement, PG vacate, packing luggage. I was offered a week off to go to hometown. I was still not sure. Someone cautioned me to keep my passport safe there as if it gets lost, I’ll get stuck in Singapore. Though one good thing happened.

My boyfriend, who earned a whopping 14 lacs per annum and found my 2.8 lacs wage inadequate as spousal qualification, started valuing me more. Suddenly my worth shot up in his eyes like oil stocks. He became more caring but was alarmed when I confided that I’m not too keen to be away from him.

“No, no, you must go. It is such a big opportunity. Go and explore.”

He said. I mistrusted him. Is he trying to shoo me off on some pretext? Will he break off, while I’m away from him for six months? A new set of fears toppled the sexual assault and intimacy fears with co-founder. I at the end decided, nothing is more valuable for me than my relationship and I cannot take a risk to stay away from him for so long. In the end, he broke off and I regretted abandoning that trip.