Here I start my journey back to India…..
I was always skeptical to come here. A number of reasons for that. First, it was too easy for software professional to get here. Everybody comes here. There's really nothing unique about getting to the US. Second, I hated it that the US always seemed to impose itself on every other country - tried to tell the world how to do things while it's own house was, if not a mess, atleast not in order. So why did I come? The project was “technically challenging” and I thought to myself, let me see with my own eyes what this country is all about!
So, of all other beautiful places in US, I landed up in Phoenix! Dry, hot, epitomy of American excess! Big countryside, big cars, big roads, big everything! It was soon after coming here that I realized that We Indo-Americans are vastly different from American foreign policy! (Politics corrupts people, I guess!). With their sense of humour and their warmth, Indo-Americans didn't take long to become endearing!
As usual with Indians, both me and my friends would take off traversing the countryside at the slightest opportunity. Got a chance to see amazing landscapes and sceneries. From the azure blue of the Santa Monica beach to “huge” Grand Canyon to the ethereal colours of Disneyland. From the skyscrapers of San Francisco to “Shamu Mujra” in San Diego, it all was an enthralling experience. Just one thought when we used to come back….why Phoenix is so bad??
Phoenix did a number of things to me. I discovered, literally, the virtual world here. The world of the mind, The world of the web.The world of youtube.The world of “bhatti and bakshi” And more than anything else, I discovered friends. Friends who will be dear to me all my life. Friends with whom I've felt I've always known them, friends who've changed from strangers to family within an hour of knowing them. These are the people with whom not only have I had the best experiences with but who have become a part of me. Phoenix to me became a discovery, not only of a city, but of myself.
My mind goes over as many of the memories I can think of. Some of them trivial, some of them fantastic, all memorable. I think about how I became so engrossed in the Discussions I was not even remotely connected! How we got involved in the food making sessions when we didn’t knew an iota of cooking. In essence, how never being an American, I was thinking like one! Living here was making me more aware of Knowledge, and as always, which makes the world more likeable, but makes an individual more complex! A realization that I am very different from what I think I am! As I said earlier, this was a discovery.
So, after 7 months, it does feel strange to leave this place behind. It does feel weird to leave all the friends behind. But it will always feel as if they are a part of what I am today. And in these days of high speed communications (albeit orkut and Gtalk) maybe we'll all still be together in the parallel virtual world.
But as I go back home, I think of what awaits me. India, my world. The one place where anything is possible. The place where I can live at my own terms…A potpourri of everything, literally everything, and still welcoming more. In a strange way, going back feels liberating. Going home gives me a sense of freedom. A freedom to fly and soar. These words (by a poet - Nina Simone) ring in my mind -
Birds flying high, you know how I feel
Stars in the sky, you know how I feel
Leaves drifting on by, you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
And I’m feeling good.
It's an old world, it's a new world, and it’s a bold world, for me. From now on…..
Goodbye Phoenix, I'll always miss you. I might have left you, but you'll never leave me.