When I tell people that I want to go to the US and that I really really want to, more than half of them don’t get it. They don’t understand what is making me want it so badly. With my SATs around the corner, the desperation just seems to rise.
I was born in New Jersey and I spent the first seven years of my life in the US; it probably had a major impact on me. My Indian parents moved back for obvious reasons – to teach me the Indian culture and heritage. I don’t blame them and I’m glad in so many ways for their decision.
They’ve spent over twenty years abroad and naturally, most of their stories comprise of the word “o-desh” which in Bengali means “that country”. There has always been one “o-desh” reference in our household. The United States Of America. I’ve always heard their stories with rapt attention, taking in the details and building images of my own. You might say that one trip to the US now might fix most of this. But I don’t want to visit the country, I want to live in the country. I want to take in the atmosphere and soak in the American spirits.
Mind you, I love India. I will always agree that it is the best country in the world, with all its diversity. Personally, I’ve grown up with Classical Music, Rabindra Sangeet and Bharatnatyam. My parents are the sort who made sure that I learnt proper and fluent Bengali, regardless of where we live or stay. They made it a point to imbibe in me the “desi-ness”. They glowed gloriously with pride every time a relative was astonished that I craved for a Bengali fish curry. But all said and done, I cannot explain why I long for “o-desh”.
There’s this show on Discovery HD called ‘The World From Above’, it’s a show where they show various cities of the world from a helicopter and needless to say, the photography’s brilliant. About an hour ago, we were watching Maryland from above. And I cannot explain in words how I longed to live in those lands. I wanted it so badly that I wanted to cry. Again, I have no explanation as to why I feel like this. Some may call me a “Deshdrohi” or whatever that term is in Hindi but in all honesty, that is not the case.
My parents made it very clear to me. If I manage to get a very high score on the SATs and get admission in a really good college with a scholarship, they have absolutely no problem with sending me abroad. But somewhere deep down, I know it’s a far-fetched dream. They’re also convinced that I’m too young to move across continents and that student life in America is beyond difficult and strenuous. But I’ve dreamt of the moment since I was ten. The moment where I’d go to the airport, bid adieu to my beloved parents and this city that I love so much to fly across the Atlantic Ocean and settle down.
Not a day goes by that I wonder whether all this will come true or not. A dream that I have without logic and without reason. Perhaps I’m foolish and naive and maybe years from now, I’ll realize how stupid I’m being but for the time being, this is all I can think of. I want to fly. And I want to fly high. I want to chase those horizons that have tormented me all my life. It’s time, I hope. Time to finally touch them.