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On any given Friday night you will see me putting my van into gear, family in tow, first stopping at the video store, then at the pizza place and finally making a “drive through” stop at the package (please read liquor) store. After getting home, we gather on our living room couch.. The Mom is off duty now and everyone is on their own, including the two year old.
So, tonight while the family watched Astro boy, I drifted off into a semi sleep mode, pondering over how to accomplish that single task that has stayed on my to-do list for almost 6 years now. It is different, has no time-line, no dependencies, no deadline for when it should be completed. BUT, it has still remained there and did I mention that this one task has it’s own list.
Well, let me begin at the very beginning. After all, the following sequence of events cannot lead to anything else but one thing only: Taking an oath of American Citizenship in a swearing in ceremony, renunciation of the Indian Citizenship, surrendering the Indian passport, and applying for an Indian Visa to visit one’s OWN country.. Or is it really? 135 people from 53 countries took the oath along with me, and to my amazement there were a lot of tears, whistles, shrieks, claps in the room that day. So much for the cherished American dream, right?!
In not so many words, here I lay out my life in what has been an assimilation of my family and I into the American way, while at the same exact time, trying hard to cook, eat, pray, ‘spend’ money, wash instead of wipe, watch movies and even party like an Indian..
Sure, times have changed, I no longer have to spell out my name, R as in Roger, A as in Apple, C as in Cat, H as in Harry, A as in Apple, N as in Nancy and A as in Apple. And if you call me an Indian, I won’t be in the least bit offended. In fact, I would like to be called a cool Indian.. Here is a scenario that might qualify that statement.. Taking pictures of snack packs at department stores to figure out how the cheese and the cracker trays are done, and then proudly serve them to Indian / American guests.. Of course, in the beginning it was a tough one.. Cracker?!?! Isn’t that called a biscuit, damn, the English(man)!!
So, why this longing for India you ask.. Well, simply put, I don’t know either.. And honestly I have even contemplated moving to Singapore that has a 50% foreign work force, just to be close to India.. That way, the country would be easy for the family to assimilate (one more assimilation needed here, but how many can one survive anyway, and we are not talking Army families here people) because they sound immigrant friendly on paper.. I mean, this is the part where I start sounding desperate, with all that research..!!
The collages tell me that life is probably the same anywhere, if the family is around with you anyway.. Then, why this yearning for the family that I left behind 8000 miles away??? My dilemma is often comforted by the kind words of the husband, who is equally torn between the love for his mother country and this land that has given him The Dream.. He tells me of how a girl gets married into a boy’s family, but will never forget or let go her mother and her relationship with that side of the family.. It is some comfort and puts me at ease when I think of it that way, but it still hurts because I feel, I am neither fish nor fowl in a lot of situations that life throws at me.. Is my apprehension valid, or am I just losing sight and thought of making the BEST OF BOTH WORLDS?!
If you know my affinity to happy endings, it is important to know my current state of mind.
An animal safari that we visited a couple of weeks ago, promised to showcase a wide variety of animals from “all over” the world. And guess who made it half way across the world to greet me?! An Indian Buffalo! Strangely, that moment, I felt a little better without my usual traces of homesickness.
Gosh, what a nut.