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Thursday, November 15, 2012


When I was a child, my mother undertook the task of inspiring me with success stories of my predecessors- the kind she wanted me to be like. No matter how it started, it always ended in the same way,’...and then he went to America (for further studies) and lives there now.’ It was the happily ever after of her stories. But you don’t really know until you have lived it. And then you realize that most endings are actually beginnings.

America is a land of immigrants, and for many years people across the world have dreamed the American dream – still, a land of opportunity. Immigrants you come across every day, woven in the fabric of the American society – the Ethiopian cab driver who hasn't seen his mother in 25 years, the friendly Bangladeshi store owner, the good-looking Colombian waiter, the kind Mexican housekeeper, or even the solitary Indian tech guy working late hours in Silicon Valley- all have a history. They have left their families behind in the countries they were born in, but not just for a better pay-check. A Chinese friend once said- ‘we are doing it for our children.’ So they may have the opportunities we didn't have. And by 'children' I don’t just mean our offsprings; we all hope for a better tomorrow for ourselves; where there is more value of life, more social justice, and less haggling required for daily life. And though I had a very comfortable childhood, I think I will flourish better in this environment than in any other. Is it my bullishness? Maybe.

After the recession hit, a lot of Indian immigrants I know went back to their countries. They reasoned, ’Why stay away from your families, live in a country where domestic help is so expensive, and miss the good food when you can get similar/better opportunities back home?’ They have a point, but career opportunities don’t present themselves, sometimes, you have to create them. I was disappointed every time I heard a hiccup about my H1B sponsorship, even after being a committed student at my B-school with straight As in all my Marketing courses. But I wasn't a risk-free candidate - there was no guarantee I wouldn't go back sobbing to my mommy if things went wrong in the workplace. And I was an extra $4000 sponsorship cost to the firm. Was I irreplaceable? There were 50 other American candidates with more experience vying for the same position. Was it frustrating to be rejected after a third round of interview- over and over again? Of course, but I did what I usually do when I hit a dead end, feel more determined to get over my situation. What could I do to become irreplaceable? What I am best at: learn, unlearn, relearn. Assess what needs to be done to develop a unique skill set. I am a fighter and regret is unprofessional. In all honesty, my priorities were different a couple of years ago.

In 2008, when I was still in B-school, a Democrat named Barack Obama ran for presidency and won. The’ Hope’ poster designed by Sheppard Fairey gained popularity during his election campaign. It is 2012, and I still have a long way to go before I build my dream, which gets bigger every day. But when I think of the early settlers who arrived cramped in ships, fought hunger and plague, bore great hardships, memories of their past, hope for a better future wherever they went and made it their home, I feel sure I can do it too. In fact, I had it easy till now.

Being an expatriate is like having two mothers, you can’t love either less. But having a dream is a great responsibility too- you can’t just give it all up and go for the easier option. I would like to stay on try. And I know the change I want to see, the seed of hope is in me.


sangram said...

Very Inspiring post !! Now I have a hope too :)
I wish you all the best in all your endeavors and I am sure that you WILL GET WHAT YOU WANT
~ SG

Shweta said...

Love it!

Anonymous said...

Interesting Post, The last line written and erased makes the reader think
When the author scribbled it she was happy and bullish,then something happened would be interesting to know the trigger or the duration that was required to erase that, then the next point is it was still left to be read is it to be read as " I have hope, but no hope" or "i dont need Hope, i know i can manage" or the strange reactions the intellectual facility has to various stimulus at relative point of time

Aparna Kar said...

Dear P, click on read more to read further the page jump. I stroke out 'Is it my bullishness' on reading the post again because more than optimism it seemed to signify bullheaded stubbornness. Any vision of happiness should also be within practical realms, hence the strike out.

And though we all have ephemeral emotions, some beliefs are forever. It also depends on the audience- how you want to see it.

Anonymous said...

That was exactly what i wanted to write, That all said and done " It also depends on audience", but its not a function of how u want to see it is a function of state of mind at that instant , thatz what dwindles my faith in beliefs, R there any beliefs which are forever, belief r the impacts etched on intellectual facility out of the strong force the stimulus carried, but again it was just a stimulus that led to belief so can it be forever

Anonymous said...

I have known you as a brilliant student and I know you will shine through no matter what. All the best always.

sejuti said...

Thoughtful post. I feel one important difference. I love this country because of many things, but I love my country in spite of a lot of things..

Aparna Kar said...

I think we are similar here, not different.'Being an expatriate is like having two mothers, you can’t love either less.'