Us, immigrants

They have scattered and settled, far and wide in all corners of the world — people who, in their younger days, couldn’t t wait to get their passports, pack their bags and leave in pursuit of what they rightfully claimed: higher education and impeccable job satisfaction. Surprisingly enough, they got it all in England, America, Australia, Africa, West Asia, wherever. I understand how it was to leave and root down in a new place, for I was one of them.

After the initial glamour, we look back and walk back. We want our specialty foods; we chase every Indian grocery store; we celebrate all our festivals; we look for opportunities to share our culture and traditions. Eventually these ripen into emotional needs. Next surface temples, music concerts, movies and visiting lecturers. On a basic level, however, Vishnushasranamam Readings is one way to get together once a month. I know it for I joined one such group.

We were gathered at a friend’s house in Smithfield. Done with a beautiful, synchronised, melodious reading of the immortal text, we rushed to the dining room to survey and devour the pot luck dishes on the table. Like the rest of them, I heaped my plate and settled comfortably on a sofa to eat. Krish from Kerala came and sat next to me. He had been with us for about two years and I had heard he was thinking of moving back to Kerala.

“So, you are leaving us?” I asked tentatively. “Yes, we have put the house on sale and I have given notice at my work. We are going back home.” He offered the reason very conscientiously. “We want to be with our parents. I am the only son and my parents are getting old. Their health is not what it was. I want to take care of them in their old age.” Well and good, I thought. “Well and good,” I said.

Months passed and we continued to meet regularly sans Krish and his family. Before the year was out, the meeting was in another friend’s house in Warwick. Once again, I sat down with my heaped plate on a sofa and who should sit next to me! “What? You are back? On some work, I suppose…? I began.

“No,” Krish replied, “I am back for good. I am renting an apartment, my daughter is back in school, I have a new job, my wife went back to her bank job.”

“What about your parents? I asked. “They are the reason we are back,” he smiled. It seems though they were happy to have their son and his family return, as days passed they got bored and finally rebelled.

The mother didn’t like her son homebound without a job, following her around all day. The father didn’t like the son asking him about his health all the time. They finally said they would like the freedom of being by themselves and would rather have the son go back to the US with his wife and daughter so everyone could be content.

“So here we are,” Krish smiled. “Now everyone is happy!”

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Us, immigrants

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