Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Work in US
Warning - Sounds more like something just out of a personal diary than an article
When I came to the US, I felt some excitement and a sense of dislocation. I was trying hard to feel pleased at this supposedly "golden opportunity" to go abroad. One thought that came recurring to me was - what can be so special about staying in America, leaving all your family and friends back home? Better life style maybe, was the only reason that I could think of. The only thing that struck me within the first few hours of the drive here, as a civil engineer, were the freeway. The second big thing was spending hours shopping at these malls which I would never envision of doing back in India. And I kept sending home the digital pics of my carpeted apartment, my car and mentioned my shopping experiences (be it at JC Penny, Dillards or Walmart) and me visiting Starbucks more often than I used to visit Café coffee day. As the mails from my siblings kept pouring in asking, to ensure, if America is really the most coveted place with all the amenities at one's disposal, I used to think about the time spent alone and the moments you want to hold your mother's hand, feel your father's presence or need friends to share anything and everything only to realize that you have left them back in India.
Sometimes I still sit alone and try to decipher what exactly is the aim of all the trouble that we are pushing ourselves through. And believe me moments of loneliness once in a while are not necessarily bad and in fact they will let you contemplate a bit on life (and am sure you too might have experienced that at some point in time). I never said anyone what I wrote down in my journal during those self-evaluation sessions, for the fear of sounding crazy:) – neither did I ever mention that I cannot meet some desi professionals over the weekend without a prior appointment!
Till date I have only talked about the typical hype that surrounds the American life which makes the desis live like they do and sent back stories that most people from here do... setting up dreams for another set to come in and realize their big "American Dream" though I feel that nothing can compare with the compassion, feeling of a community, and the sense of belonging to a great heritage in India. It must be the pearls of knowledge and wealth of culture that helped us survive for ages.
These days I feel that being away, you can analyze about good and bad aspects in India better from here. I know that nothing in life is only good or only bad. There are only shades. You may call this ‘cognitive dissonance’, if you will.
Obviously, not everything is rosy in either India/ US. But I recently joined a firm full time and my worst nightmare and best hope came true. I love working as an engineer and felt that this country induces individuality and appreciates personal excellence. So I don’t know when I will cross the fine line between leaving back for India and settling in this country.
As I am writing this, following song (that is so profound and true about life in general) comes to my mind.
kabhi kisi ko mukammal jahan nahin milta...
kahin zameen to kahin aasmaan nahin milta..
tere jahan mein aisa nahin ke pyar na ho..
jahan ummeed ho uski, wahan nahin milta...
but that’s life.
I know we need to count our blessings, feel blessed, and live life as best as we can... and the song seems to say it all, and probably applies to almost every human being in some way or the other.
It is one of those songs that I can listen to on a rainy day sitting on the porch, sipping hot coffee, and staring into the horizon and reflecting on life appreciating everything life brings with it - pain and joy!
Anyways, this discussion is lame until I work in India for 2-3 years and/ or spend a couple of years in US. I guess I would be able to take a very firm view then. Until then, my pov would be - India isn't that bad a place to work. And even if it is, dont be a coward to run away. Do your best to make it a good place.
I guess I have bitten more than I can chew. So much for now, Modi. Keep writing :)
Though I hesitated fractionally over the thoughts of moving back to India, I am almost certain that I shall be back (for good), though only time shall tell (as they say).
This may be of interest to you I have a free online dating service. It pretty much covers dating stuff.
I'll be sure to come back.
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