Leaving America

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.

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Canine Hunger Games

That’ll teach him not to steal from me!

I came across the above gif on Reddit today and it reminded me of Sydney and Tudor.

This was always a problem we faced at home. Sydney was a bit of a doormat. Tudor, being the more rambunctious of the two, would walk all over poor Syd and get his way.

We started off giving lunch to both Sydney and Tudor at the same time, at the same place, more for a convenience factor than anything else – it was easier to just put the food at the same place for both the dogs and maintain an eye over them than separate the two and expending more energy in the process. Soon, it became clear that a separation was needed, as Tudor would end up eating his own food as well as Sydney’s.

We quickly found out that this had absolutely no effect on Tudor’s habit. We would give Sydney his food in the backyard and Tudor his food in the front of the house. Tudor, the little devil, would wolf down his own food taking all of about twenty seconds to do so and rush to the backyard immediately after, pushing Sydney out of his way and eating Syd’s lunch as well.

The look of disappointment in Sydney’s eyes was palpable. I am a bad person, and I found this hilarious, especially considering that Sydney was Tudor’s father.

If only he had the brains to do what the dog in the gif did…

Hometown Tinder

Two years ago, I used Tinder in Coimbatore and Madras. I convinced myself that it was a sort of social experiment, however the truth is that I was more overcome with curiosity than anything else. I was curious to see if I could find a girl I knew, on one hand to see what they were up to, and on the other to see how they project themselves to a potential right-swiping guy. Over the course of ten or so swipes, I landed on the profiles of three girls I knew and went to college with, one of whose profile photos was taken at her wedding, making me question if she missed the point of it all somewhere. Safe to say that I didn’t open the app again during the rest of my time there.

Thoughts courtesy my stumbling across this article on The Atlantic: Link

Four Weddings and an Engagement

They’re falling like tenpins. Left, right, and center.

It has come to a point where a wedding or an engagement is the only reason I end up going home nowadays.

Not that I’m complaining, it gives me a reason to go back after all. Plus it allows me to write blog posts with epic titles.

Case in point.

Edit: The tags for this post are straight out of Caesar’s mouth in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

“Home… Family… Future….”

Familiar faces. Familiar places.

This required a fair bit of thought. Clearly, a poet I’m not.

Day 1: Lost bag. Jetlag. Badam cake and bakshanam. Beetroot sambar and “thachi mummam”. Singham Dance. Full trance. Excellent company. Sleep for hours three.
Day 2: Wedding #1. Little girl gave me bun. Spirits under the pretext of sore
throat medicine. Whiskey, not gin. First class on a train for the first time. Unsurprisingly,
still encountered some grime.
Day 3: Home. Thathi, dad and mom. Amma’s Madras eye. Dammit gais. Melbo. Feisty fellow. Fother oda sarakks. Kickass.
Day 4: Crazy driving in Kerala, on way to Cochin. When questioned would receive a “theek hai” and a grin. Barbecue and seafood. Pretty damn good. Pool. Sasi = bloody fool! Of friends and selfie sticks. Way too many clicks.
Day 5: Mullapandhal and kallu. Cheers to being mallu. Several meats. Driving to the tunes of Avicii and Hardwell – good beats.
Day 6: Wedding #2. More family, the full crew! Amazing saapad with Kerala rice.
It’s a para-para-paradise. Coimbatore reception with comedic poses. Only thing
missing was Goundamani romantic looks and roses.
Day 7: Opeth bajji kadai and serendipitous meetings. Coimbatore’s charm lies in
seeing known people on the road and greetings. Race Course. Oru chinna discourse.
Barbecue Nation. “Babu Ganesan”. Chicken, mutton, seafood and beer in front of
amma. Scandalous looks all around, yemma.
Day 8: Morning Annapoorna ghee roast. Afternoon lunch at dost’s. Evening mud soufflé and DVD of Dream Theater. Definitely missed Portnoy, though Mangini is
one mean creature.
Day 9: Melbo kooda walk. The guy is smart – it’s like he could almost talk!
Lunch with family. So much food, insanity. Three quizzes at CQC. Potato
puffs and tea at NMB. Last day in CBE.
Day 10: An evening with maami. Thendral is still happening?! Podhumada saamy! Early morning flight. Back to the grind – sad plight.

IMG_7327
Road. Sky.

Excellent time with friends, family and food. I hope the next turns out to be as good.

Home is where the dosai is

Took off today without wearing my seatbelt. Textbook definition of first world anarchy. Nobody, not the air stewards, my co-passengers or myself, noticed it. I don’t know if what that says about British Airways but that’s a different issue..

I find people watching in airports, or any places of transit for that matter, very interesting and highly relaxing. There’s a level of comfort involved in seeing people meeting their loved ones after a long trip, and a level of sadness in watching them say goodbye. You feel for the folk, and you are reminded of your own loved ones back home waiting to see you.

As an aside, I’ve only ever noticed Indians putting some form of identification on their suitcases, and it’s mostly a flashy ribbon which looks like it was torn off the border of their mother’s saree. I wonder if this is a cultural thing passed on through generations. I guess we are just much more possessive of our things than others.

Like I said, I love people watching in airports. It’s even better when I’m on my way home.

*whistles the tune of Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera*

On that note, Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera is a song that evokes considerable emotion in me, as does Luka Chuppi. Thank you ARR.