August 1, 2012.
I arrived in the United States, wide-eyed and eager.
I entered a world of Fahrenheit’s, soft R’s, MM/DD formats, way too many choices in grocery stores, pounds, miles, gallons, miles per gallon (one of the first things the Indian in me did when I got my car was do a mileage conversion to km/l – 14, thank you very much), and toilet paper.
I hoped to learn new things and meet new people. I hoped to experience a new culture and make new friends. I hoped to get a good job and make money. I hoped to get a visa and settle down.
I’ve done most of those things.
It’s a known fact that the immigration system in the country is screwed up. To place the lives of thousands of potential immigrants who have not only studied here but have also worked and contributed as tax-paying members of society in the hands of a lottery with a grand prize of a work authorization visa, the chances of which are only marginally better than those of one actually winning a million dollar jackpot, is maddening.
I used to argue that the lottery system for picking H1B visas was probably the fairest, because a random number generator would be most unbiased in its selection of hopefuls to give them a chance in making a mark here.
What I said is probably true in terms of bias. The lottery system isn’t fair, however. It places the folks who’ve devoted years to study here in the same basket as those coming from other countries courtesy their companies that apply for visas in the tens of thousands, in effect gaming the system.
It doesn’t make sense. And it’s in need of a major overhaul.
Unfortunately though, that will have to be done without my lawful presence in the country.
July 4, 2017.
Independence Day in the United States.
It also happens to be exactly 3 years to the day that I came to Houston to work with my company. A happy coincidence.
It’s been a good five years in the country. But to quote Robert Plant in Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, “I’ve got to ramble.”
Tomorrow, I leave behind home, family, friends, and familiarity.
Tomorrow, I go back to home, family, friends, and familiarity.
It’s going to be scary. It’s going to be exciting.
It’s going to be worth it.
Goodbye for now, America.
Hello again, India.