Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Migrated Decade

It has been ten years to the day since I made my move from the Orient to the Occident. The day I would board my first international flight with one of my closest friends as we headed to the land of Uncle Sam under the guise of getting higher education. The day I would acquire my FOB (Fresh off the boat) status. (It never made sense to me, unless boat is a metaphorical representation for an airplane.) The day I would journey in the footsteps of other immigrants who left a known world to pursue an unknown dream. Leaving behind family and friends (yes, yes, a girlfriend too), my city, my country, my identity in pursuit of an unknown adventure, with a nebulous idea of what lay ahead. Ten years is perhaps a short time to call the adventure complete. Ten years is perhaps a long enough time to judge how the adventure is going.

From finishing my studies that I thought would be hard to finding a job that I thought would be easy, from getting married to the aforementioned girlfriend to being a father of a lovely little boy, from possessing unbridled curiosity to maturing – in age, looks and hopefully wisdom too, from sharing a love-hate relationship with my country to sharing a love-hate relationship with this country, from vacillating between the need to go back to the need to stay here, from the successful exploration of one’s abilities to the lonesome discovery of one’s inadequacies, from pursuing old passions to exploring new ones, from slowly shying away from people I was close to only to discover some others that I might never part away from, from finding a comfort point in life only to determine that you can never really get comfortable, the last decade has been a lifetime within a lifetime.

The tale of immigrants is so similar to others and in its minutiae, so different as well. We fly out of our homes with two bags of belongings, and two decades of experiences. The destiny we shape is often uncontrollable even though we may think we are our own masters, but we forge a new sense of identity each day of our passing lives in a foreign land. Perhaps the new identity entails always treating yourself as a displaced entity in a foreign world, or perhaps it sees itself as expanding our horizons in a global village. Decade after decade goes, and just like the start of the previous one, I wouldn’t hazard an accurate guess on how the next one will go. For the moment though, I will celebrate ten years gone by, a life not derailed, an adventure developing as we speak, a story not yet complete.

13 comments:

Vidya said...

Similar thoughts ran through my mind when I gained my U.S. citizenship (and thereby relinquishing my Indian one). Our circumstances are different, of course - these days, I am not even sure if I can identify India as 'home' - but it still has a very special place in my heart.

What do you think your little one would have to say, in a few years, about his unique heritage?

P.S.: Are there thoughts about returning...five years from now?

Pooja Shah said...

Awesome! This is so well written, though I have been in the States for only close to half that duration, can relate to many thoughts you have portrayed here.

Parth said...

@Vidya: You are a step further ahead then. It will be interesting to see how my son takes to this. He is, after all, an American citizen. I am assumimg you are referring to my 'n+5 theorem' when you asked me about 5 years. That's very hard to tell. It is not an impossible move, but a difficult one. Only time will tell.

@Pooja: Thanks for stopping by. It will be interesting to see where you are at when you reach 10 years. For the five year mark, look for a link I have in this post. I have a post written exactly at the five year mark.

30in2005 said...

The tale of migrants being so different and yet so similar is so true! That was a lovely post. Has made me think about my years away from home and how this has transformed itself into my home and that (India) my vacation. Looking forward to reading the 15 and 20 year update.

Parth said...

@30in2005: Glad to know you could identify with it. I think I am not yet at the tipping point where India becomes a vacation. I am sure though that as the years fly by, that shall come to pass.

RS said...

Ah...my favorite topic. Do let me know if you are planning to return for good. Would be nice to hear your reasons for that...or if you decide otherwise too :)

Parth said...

@RS: Your favourite subject indeed :) I'll be sure to share my thoughts on staying or leaving. I'll wager though, that since you are so much more in tune with the subject; you might end up doing that earlier than me :)

Sachin said...

Sheer poetry. parth u always amaze me..

Parth said...

@Sachin: Thanks much :)

Heathcliffs Girl said...

I am that fresh off the boat now,wonder eyed and such and i louw this post and already thinking of back home and everything you have written is so apt fr me right now..and ten years will go by so fast..

Parth said...

@Heathcliffs girl: Thanks for stopping by, you bright-eyed optimistic freshie :) Hope to see you around the blog some more.

Anonymous said...

The last para summed it up for me.
Interestingly, this year completed my 10th year in the US and I often tell hubby how different US used to be(or so it seemed then) when I first landed here. But then, I say the same for India of 10 year ago too. Would you someday write a post on what differences you see in the US of ten yrs ago and US of today(I guess it is wrong to pose such demands on a blogger but am trying my luck here:))?

Parth said...

@Anon: That's an interesting suggestion for a post. At a personal level, that is a difficult comparison to make, simply because life here has undergone several transitions since I landed. However, overall, the country and its culture definitely have changes that I can trace from 2000.