1.4 billion of Indians dream of going to America. I know the current population of India is only 1.325, I am also counting the children who will be born today!! Don’t get me wrong, not all want to live there, but they definitely want to visit the U the S of the A, at some point in time in their life.
My obsession with the States began when I had someone repatriated from there join me in grade 3 at my school back in India. Jasmine, her name was. She was by far the prettiest Sikhni I had ever seen, and believe me I had seen a lot, being in a Sikh school. Her school bag, her pencil box, her stationary, even her shoes were atleast 10 years ahead of mine. Blonde hair and fair skin, but what struck me the most was her confidence. I had not known that children that age are even capable of exuberating that amount of confidence. She wouldn’t shy away even with her broken ‘Hindi’. Her English accent would bring sarcy comments to her, but that never deterred her one bit. She kept on. For a seven year old me, it became a generalised impression of all Americans, there on. And there began the desire to see this inspiringly advanced country for myself. I wanted that life where I speak English fluently and own the latest stationary. What simple motivation to go US, innocent days!!
Another prolonged and perpetual motivation throughout my childhood was my mum telling (read light-hearted complaining to) me and all others about my uniquely rebelious ways. ‘Isko to America mein paida hona chahiye tha‘, she would say, ‘Yahan India mein kaise aa gayi’, which translates to – she should have been born in America, she doesn’t belong to Indian culture. Not to blame her, as I never did fit in (and I know, in her heart, she was and is proud of me for that). I think the mandatory compliance instructions to even have a chance at being tagged a sunder-sushil-gunvati-bhagyashali-larki (most eligible girl) at the time in my part of the world were – wear salwar kameez and dupatta with no more than 2.6cms of skin showing, be an introvert, don’t talk to guys, do not laugh loudly when a boy is looking at you even if your girlfriend cracks a really funny joke, keep your eyes riveted to the ground when talking to elderly, specially males, in short, do not breathe! and have no life! I complied to none of these rules, with my lovely parents supporting my back all the time and there goes the story.
The only reason I entered the IT corporate world, years later, was because this was, at the time, a hopeful and easy pathway to reach USA. Go IT boom! I was right, the path definitely was full of opportunities and I did bump into those not once but four times in my first 5 years. Alas! I could avail none! Work permit renewals, passport renewals and ultimately the family way came in the way of my dream way! No complains though, I know everything happens at its own time.
And the time has finally come. 8 years on, from the last time I was offered a business visit to USA, I finally have decided that its about time I spend my own vacay funds to visit my dream destination. The planning has begun four months in advance. So when my bestie from Uni, who now lives there, was amazed when I shared my itinerary spreadsheet with her, which literally comprises of a low level detailed plan accurately jotting down my whereabouts at any given minute during the 4 week holiday, she asked me if I had become a freak since the last time we met, probably suffered a blow to my head which caused me some sort of compulsive disorder. I replied ‘This is US baby!! Years & years of research and love for the land, it has to be perfect, every moment utilised to satisfaction’. Hopefully, it will be!!