There is this group in India, who are sometimes jokingly called "The abandoned parents brigade". More and more of our young ones have found a life away from home in this land
of opportunity called America. Left behind are parents growing old, reaching the years of vulnerability and longing greatly to have their children and grandchildren around them,
in their sunset years. Their children urge them, "Come to America. Come and live with us. Come at least for six months." Reluctant to leave all that is familiar behind them,
nervous about leaving their home untended, but joyful at the thought of a reunion they long for, you decide to make the journey.
The journey begins, in fact, in the crowded hall of a cold and somewhat hostile American consulate, or embassy.Queuing from the early hours of the morning, tired and
apprehensive, the first taste of America is usually the Indian at the counter, who can be rude and abrasive and acts as if he is protecting his own "homeland" from all unwelcome
Once past that hurdle, the next leg of the odyssey begins, strapped into a airplane seat, with little room to maneuver, for sixteen long hours.At last you are at your
final destination and you Queue wearily once again, to clear immigration. Forewarned, you forget to mention on the customs declaration form, the pickles and papads and home made
goodies you are carrying for your loved ones. Almost like a magnet, the customs officials seem to single out Indians for special attention, because they know only too well that
Indians carry food to this land of plenty. "How long are you coming for? Why are you coming?", the questions are fired at you, as penetrating eyes switch from your face to
passport and back again. "Well" you say chattily, "My daughter is having a baby". "Oh you Indian mothers", he exclaims "thats all you seem to do, come here for babies. What do
American girls do?" What indeed?
And there at last, as you wheel your trolley out of those doors, is your family, smiling, waving, so happy that you are here at last and they no longer need to have a guilt
complex about lonely parents back home. Their home is two hours away and you dutifully admire ... Read more
- Mrs. Nomita Chandy
The views of this column are the author's own, and do not necessarily represent the views of NRI Online.