So I was told that I will finally make my parents proud: I will go to US of A; and that too, New York.
Coming from a land full of engineers and doctors, USA is considered as the promised land. There were many who wondered aloud that they have never heard of a state in US called Finland. "Surely you don't mean Cleaveland?" They queried.
If you cannot go to India, the next best option is to go to USA to meet with family and friends. Friends from the past, their counterparts, new friendships in the making, new circles to be forged. Relations. to meet a nephew by blood, a brother in law I have never met face to face, to meet other smaller nephews and neices by love; stronger than the blood bonds.
Also, the chance to have some real sun, a real holiday. With friends. Wine tasting in Napa, shopping, the beaches, the museums, treks, hikes and shopping some more.
I am what they call wheatish in Indian matrimonial columns. I call myself dusky, with pride, and there were many times when i saw ( to borrow a red Indian term) the pale faces look at me and my tanned skin with envy. So in the morning when I stepped out to go to the embassy, and in the tram when a Nordic God with deep blue eyes and hair like the shining sun asked me if I was from Middle east or Egypt, my inner cat purred, but just gave a tiny smile and shook my head no.When I stepped out of the tram to my destination, he waved me goodbye with a slight smile, which I would like to think was tinged with regret. Any other day, I would have jumped back to the tram ( I am nothing if not impulsive ) to exchange numbers, but not today. Today, NewYork and California were beckoning, and blue eys became yet another unknown stranger.
The embassy reminded me of a prison. huge walls, guards, security cameras. I was called for the debriefing. And asked about myself. What do I do? Why do I have this contract and not anything else? How long have I been working for my company? How come my MBA is only for two years? ( at that question, i peeked a look at his ID badge and indeedy, he is an American - and then the way he has been asking questions made sense).And what did I do for my under graduation?
I did engineering.
And what did you do it in?
I knew I would regret telling him it the moment the words were out of my mouth.
Electronics and Telecommunication. ( also known as branch of engineering which teach terrorists to make bombs)
He practically shoved the form which said that it would take at least a month for my visa to my hands. And all but shooed me out of the place. One month. At least. My managers letters didn't mean zilch to him. Nope.
I came back, opened my laptop and canceled all conformed meetings at work and with friends. And then I tried to answer their questions about my non existent research and publishing of papers without any sarcasm and as much clarity as possible. I was especially stumped by the last question, where like a nosy relative whom one particularly dislike, they wanted to know what I wanted to do with my life and how long I plan to be in this country.
Nordic Gods, the next time any of you walk up to me and compare me to the beauties in Arab nations or in upper Africa, I am gonna give you a tight kick in the ass.I know its unfair, but don't think kicking the visa guy would have really helped.