What a blur the last couple of weeks have been! Between loads of work, a bunch of blog posts, Holi celebrations and the sniffles (yet again), I’ve had no time to process anything. No time to even rant about life and all else with my dear mum who is about 9000 miles away. That actually brings me to what has really been on my mind.
I’ve always wanted to ‘make it’. To give my all to everything I was doing – be it college, work, or even a side project. In the early 2000s, the true mark of an engineer’s success, in my then severely uninformed opinion, was traveling to the States on an onsite assignment. I didn’t care about where I was going to live or what kind of work I was going to be doing, but I felt passionately about doing well enough to be ‘awarded’ the three month work trip. And as luck would have it, I was plonked in New York City – arguably one of the most dynamic cities in the country. I felt like a newborn the moment I landed.
Finding my way
At school, I always did really well in English classes and tests – here, the immigration officer had to make me repeat a number of sentences (hot, hawt anyone?). Strangers were saying ‘Hello’, that was new, and so..polite. I didn’t know that you had to make way for folks to walk on one side of the escalator. Ever tried standing in the way of fifty New Yorkers on their way to work? Not pleasant. But I was young, and determined to make the best use of the opportunity that I’d worked so hard for. I learnt the rules, started speaking slower, greeted everyone I made eye contact with, and walked at 90 mph on a moving escalator. Work was a breeze, it was life outside work that was challenging and exhilarating.
I was living away from home,away from my parents for the first time. Paying my own bills, sharing an apartment, learning to cook (the only thing I knew how to do back then was boil water)..and ALL the malls. It was the most liberating experience of my life. I took immense pride in how I had adapted and I counted my blessings every single day. I felt like I was welcome as long as I learnt to fend for myself – and I was more than okay with that!
And then you have to grow up
If someone told me ten years ago, that I’d get to see the Golden Gate Bridge every single day, I’d have asked them if they’d been drinking a little too much. I’m still in awe of everything around me here. Parks, playgrounds, green grass, views of the hills all year round, sounds like heaven, no? To me this is as perfect as a place can be, I am allowed to take power, water and transport for granted. Things work like a well oiled machine, efficiently and smoothly. But I’m not 24 anymore. I have a husband and a child, which officially, puts me in the grown up category. The only parenting I’ve been able to draw inspiration from, is of course from my own parents.
But, how do I apply that to my life when everything around me is so different? I grew up constantly surrounded by aunties and uncles and tons of cousins. Summer holidays were spent learning to ride bicycles, playing cricket in the backyard, and eating dozens of freshly made Mysore bondas served on banana leaves, no less. Now, my only option is a summer camp for my four year old. It makes me a little sad. I want him to have all the experiences that I had – to gather tons of memories as he grows up. Each memory could be a potential happy conversation a decade or two later.
I envy folks who’ve blended in, who’ve made this country their home and can’t imagine a future anywhere else. To be honest, I don’t know what locations my dreams are based in. All I know is that (in my dreams), I wouldn’t have to wait months on end to see my family. I’d be able to see my friends, the ones that I’ve been friends with since primary school a lot more often. Or I’d invent a jet that could take me across the ocean in two hours.
I don’t know where I was going with this post really, it is truly, just what’s been on my mind lately.