Aug 3, 2006

The Cursed Day

Aug 3 '01 - the day my family and I left New Delhi, India for good.
Aug 3 '01 - the day my family and I landed on American land for good.
Aug 3 '01 - the day that marked the ending of a beginning left incomplete.
Aug 3 '01 - the day that marked the beginning of a new beginning unasked for.

As a fourteen year old I arrived Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America exactly five years ago from today. Mom, Papa, Hansag and I stood at the Hartsfield Airport with our eight (or maybe twelve) huge suitcases, waiting for Mr. Man Mohan Sharma to receive us.

Two years before, in 1999, Hansag and I had come to the States for a visit of three months. The scene that was in front of our eyes now, was not at all scary. Seeing Whites, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, all those people running around at the airport seemed quite normal. Those pay phones, those carts, that luggage receiving area, those help counters, those sliding doors, those extra long cars, pick-up trucks, perfect roads, nothing, nothing at all was new or scary or unexpected.

Finally, someone came looking for us. It was Mr. Sharma's wife - Lydia Sharma - of Puerto Rican decent. Those huge suitcases we were standing by helped her recognize us.

The luggage was dumped into Mr. Sharma's white Ford pick-up truck. The rest of us rode the black Lexus, which had a built-in GPS system. Again, the automatic windows, the smooth ride, the fast highways, the country side, nothing, nothing at all was new or scary or unexpected.

The night before, back in India, mom was still packing. There was a huge crowd of people in our flat - Nana, Nani, Anil Chacha, Lajja Chachi, Shanky, Rishu, Rinku Mama, Papa, Mom, Hansag, and I. A lot of stuff was going on, the flight was in only a couple of hours and the house was still a mess, things spread everywhere! Adults' minds were not thinking straight. There came a point when postponing the ticket was being considered. I was up for it! I really wanted that! I actually wanted them to just fuckin' cancel the tickets and not ever think about moving to the United States. But of course, nothing was done. The flight, still, was in a couple of hours, and the house, still, was a mess.

Soon, and I mean pretty soon, it was time to step out the house. I went to my room, picked up the phone and dialed numbers. Three sets of seven digit numbers. Said the same thing to all the three on the other side of the line:
Hum bas nikal rahe hain. Tujhe last bye bolne ke liye phone kiya.
(We are just leaving. Called to say a final bye.)

Kanika Saboo, Srishti Bhatnagar, and Aditya Singh (probably in that same order, but can't remember).

Then, I went down the stairs, walked over to another building, called Tripti Sharma. She came downstairs we shook hands/hugged and I stepped inside that car that took me away, far away.

Yes, it has been five years since I've seen that flat or that particular crowd or Kanika or Srishti or Aditya or Tripti. It has been five years since I've stepped down those stairs or walked on that road or towards that building.

Five long unending years.

15 comments:

  1. dost, every word is just so full of emotions, love and affection, i am sure someday u'll visit delhi back again..and u'll find all ur lovd ones there.. u have nice memories i think ..so have a reason to cheer..

    may waheguruji bles u .... respect..saurabh..

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  2. you still relive that day n in sadness.. you said we left India for good and on the other hand you say its all been bad.. cheer up - c'mon.. i believe you'll be back someday n wont settle in States - will u? ;)

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  3. So far no such plans of settling down here. Aage aage dekhiye hota hai kya...

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  4. I guess,the bad feeling that you had has very little to with leaving your country and settling in another. The worst aspect, I am sure, must have been to depart from old friends and the reticence of interacting with new guys in a new world. I hope you get to settle in India soon, but then, I'm sure, you'll have the same feelings while departing from the friends you made there. An affinity with a place is actually the affinity you have for the people living there. If you're feeling sad to depart from a place, it invariably means that you don't want to depart from the firends you made there.
    Nice piece of writing !!

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  5. vaise when is ur next kavita coming up ? ur fans world-wide are dying to read the next issue.

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  6. you have an interesting blog, generally its boring to read a personal blog but i think i can take a film with your story ..

    ok > i will ask gowrikar and tell if he is interested ... Lol...

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  7. hye geetali do you know what ?

    September 2 is world Coconut day ...
    and i have posted about it in my blog.

    So do buy a coconut on that day... ok..

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  8. hey whats up ?
    no new post ! i am bored yaar....

    post something interesting...

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  9. Dear,
    This blog is a part of your own life story & the story is so nice to read as it was a true story only which has the real feelings,affections etc.But here too i have to remind you something dear,that is..About our country INDIA,an INDIAN is ever an INDIAN only,he/she will never ever change from indian traditions,you can make changes and show it to others where you live but there too its just an show off only & still the indian traditions will lay on your heart in all means...,an Indian cant even forget his country or his olden memories in his homeland.You can go to any parts of the world,you can stay in any country,you can go with any peoples & you can even change your life style too but whatever changes you make in your life is just show off only becoz indian customs/traditions never ever disappear from an INDIAN's heart.Thats INDIAN..."Bharath Mahan"...Our HINDUSTAN !!...States will be good for you but still out INDIA is there in your heart in all means,especially delhi,your friends,relatives,homecity etc are still there in your heart & your heart beats for it in all means..the only thing is you are not showing it open,just hiding it & going with states life in all means...thats true only.Can you tell me from your heart that you dont love INDIA,you dont wish to come back,you dont even want to see your old friends & relatives?...Can you?.....Not at all possible dear...

    ¤ Regards, vijaysomanath
    ¤ www.spaces.msn.com/vijaysomanath
    ¤ Copyright © 1999-2006 vijaysomanath. All rights reserved.

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  10. You have a talent.

    This might interest you,
    http://www.awgp.org/gamma/book/english_wai1

    Will be interesting to read your comments on it.

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  11. Very well written. Perhaps you could write a different version of it, perhaps "the blessed day"? Think about it, would be interesting what you come up with.

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