Monday, November 24, 2008

Homesick


Earlier this evening, a strange realization hit me. It has been more than 2 years and 2 months ever since I have come here, and not once have I visited home. It's not that this was news to me, but as it started to sink in, I was engulfed in a train of thoughts. Before I came here, I had never left home, not even to live in hostels or visit relatives in other cities, and once I left home, I never went back. During the end of the first year, as I was planning a trip in the summer, I ran out of funding and had to spend the entire quarter running around and knocking doors of professors trying to help me earn and sustain myself. Soon, a visit to India became a distant dream. During the end of the second year, I contemplated another visit during summer. This time, my greatly venerable academic advisor threatened to not sign my thesis unless I finished certain chunks of the project. These chunks happened to be bigger than the iceberg that hit Titanic, and soon all my plans of visiting home had sunk. Eventually she did sign my thesis, and I am all free now, but I got into this thing called OPT where people tell you horror stories about how other people they know tried leaving the country and were never let in again. No one of course knows who these people are, but everyone knows another person with a sad story like this. Needless to say, visiting home is not an option anymore. not at least for the next one year till my OPT ends.

My passport looks pristine and spotless, with not a single stamp every since the last one was put at the LA airport. Every year, I see people excitedly pack and leave to visit homes, taking pounds of American chocolates and expensive perfumes back for people home. I see these same people come back after weeks carrying pounds of Indian goodies like puffed rice, jaggery, and sweets. They animatedly discuss the latest developments they witnessed in India. People are attending weddings, convocations, and anniversaries. I on the other hand am celebrating Halloween and Thanksgiving.

I wonder if my parents will look older and grayer when I see them next. I wonder how much has the price of goods increased ever since I left India. I wonder if the walls adjoining our building have the same graffiti of vote for CPM scribbled all over as they always were. I wonder if the maid tells the same old stories about the same old people she works for to my mom. The kids from our community must be in high school now. Suddenly, everything is vivid and clear to me, the font of the letters painted on the letterbox with the name of my dad, the different music it played every time someone hit the doorbell, and the familiar sounds of the vendors selling stuff outside the apartment. I wonder how much of it has changed.

Sorry for the extremely sentimental post. As usual, I am just thinking aloud.

sunshine

12 comments:

santm said...

What about asking your parents to visit you? I know it is very expensive with INR falling against USD every day but surprisingly flight tickets are becoming cheaper.

A Girl from Timbuktu said...

hmmmm...very difficult to stay from home...I hope you plan a trip soon, and tht it materialises too.

Suryansh said...

You can go home on OPT. I have gone on OPT and so have a couple of other friends of mine. Hell, guys have even gotten married while on OPT !!

~vagabond~ said...

I normally read your blogs but rarely comment (out of sheer laziness)...but this post touched my heart enough to make me comment. I honestly could have been reading my own thoughts out aloud through this post. Like you too, I had never ventured far from home until I came to the US five years ago, and I havent returned back home since then. Something or the other keeps coming up that stops me from going back home to see them, and your post tugged at the nostalgia in my heart...I too wonder whether they'll have aged a little more since the last time I saw them. I used to say I would never be like one of those ungrateful kids that leaves home and never comes back...and some how life has turned me into one of them. Not ungrateful, but bound by circumstances. Sigh. I hope both you and I have our wishes granted soon and we can get to see home again some time soon. *sending you a hug to get you through the homesickness*

maxdavinci said...

ah don't worry you should be good!

I went this supmmer on OPT and it's cool. Even I heard all those crappy stories but nah...

Make sure you have a latest copy of yor I20 which says that you have OPT and make sure its signed on the second page fro travel. Than and an EAD is all you need!

PS: and an unexpired passport, LOL!

Pavi!!!! said...

Awww..i actually u'stand how u must feel...2 yrs is one hec of a long time and 3..is a long long time!...i wish u get the year flies by n uget to go home soooon!

n ya India changes so fast..tooo fast!i felt it when I went after 1.5 yrs!

Rashi said...

ever heard of flights of fantasy??
try tht...

every place is just a wink away

cheers!

Philotics said...

Sending u a jaadu ka jhaappi, bahut kaam ka cheez hai! :-)

M said...

Totally understand what you're going through. I'm here in the USA for the last 1.5yrs and have been missing home like crazy! Some issues here and there always foil our plans....
*Hugs* Hope you get to see your folks soon :)

- http://snippetsnscribbles.wordpress.com

Raam Pyari said...

:(

go home no...figure something out somehow and go...

Kanupriya Sindhu Ramrakhyani said...

2 years & 2 months!!! That's really a long time to be away from home. Hope u get to visit your home soon!

Random Reflections said...

don't stay away too long ! yes one is certainly amazed at how everything changes each time one visits. I feel like an anachronism each time I visit. head somewhere, heart somewhere...life goes on.