In The Beginning
“I want to move to America.
The first words of her American Dream baby.
The start to a long, winding road with ups and downs that led to the golden arches of clean air, greasy diner food and capitalism.
The words written by a young woman who had never left her hometown, who never really left the small white room in her childhood home.
The words shared by so many visionaries who dreamt of the same blue skies as she had.
The musings of her dreams poured into letters that went into the pocket of her husband who promised her, it would happen
one day or three months
or a decade of a life built in the comfortable apartment in a hectic city on a traffic ridden street, later;
something would happen.
Right now, she was just a young woman, college bound, wanting to build herself in a career that most deemed “unsuitable”for a person like her.
Time and time again, being the only woman in the department.
It wouldn’t be the first or last time.
She worked and worked and never stopped, till her step on the ladder grew,
The roots of her hard work growing into a blossoming money tree.
The American Dream, baby.
Also In the Beginning
“I want to move to America,”
And so does half the working class in India, join the queue .
Others were a little less optimistic than she was, watching as friend after friend moved away to the promised land,
promised so much but given so little.
Given a one bedroom apartment with an AC unit that you had to hit twice to feel cool air
Watching them turn and twist into becoming the computer guy joke for their colleagues at dinner parties.
Or the foreign neighbors who were never invited to community picnics because they didn’t eat the barbeque sauce slathered piece of meat that their counterparts claimed was “to die for.”
Being the perpetual ‘others’.
“Lock up your doors, lock up your windows!
There are immigrants coming to steal your jobs!”
Constantly being told,
“Your accent makes it hard to understand what you’re saying.”
“You’re not living here anymore, why do you care about us?”
Why would she want to go someplace where she wouldn’t be welcome?
Where people preach of welcoming hard working immigrants into their cities
But complain when they make themselves comfortable?
They told her,
The American Dream is just a fantasy,
For those who can afford it.
Not everyone can go there, some of us are fine as we are.
And you should be too. Remember what you have!
How could you leave your parents? At their age?
I know. I know.
Dreamers don’t stop dreaming after the sun wakes up and light hits their face.
Dreamers don’t let go of that one dream that never seems to leave them,
The one they recall to their roomates the next morning
And ask them if they think it’s true.
American Dreams were always on her mind.
When she was working day and night, chasing that high.
When she was traveling back and forth, imagining her life in the States.
And when a baby girl,
A dark haired, bright eyed, tight ponytails and bad eyesight baby girl was born
With the same skin and dreams as her,
A baby girl who wasn’t too young to
dream of freedom before she could even talk and the chance to be able to walk outside in the dark, alone,
to be able to breathe clean air,
to talk openly about her family,
She promised her that she would do right by her.
Four Years, Two Months Later.
The clock hand tick by as she spends another night in her office,
Typing out more presentations her boss needs by 11 AM, sharp.
He forgot that his 11 AM was her midnight,
Still, she continues.
Tapping away on a company provided laptop,
Her baby girl is miles away in a different country
Getting ready for her first day of school.
She wonders if her husband played the video she had made, so baby girl doesn’t miss her mom so much.
When she looks out of the window, she sees people wandering in the streets,
Foreign people in a foreign land.
She had been here many times before,
One day she would have to get her family here too.
Next year, she would have to come back again.
Next month, they were sending her to Europe.
Another two weeks before she’s home again,
But not really.
Not when her mind is miles away in an office chair overlooking the Seine,
Or in a dark lit conference room in Singapore,
Or in the backseat of an airplane next to the bathroom and a very comfortable co-passenger.
Work never stopped, not at the red light,
Not during hospital visits
Not during a birthday party.
Work so her American boss tells her that she’s doing a good job,
Work so she can be the only woman in the meeting and still feel like The Man.
She wanted the American Dream, and she was getting there
Working hard and becoming successful, check.
A good job, check.
A nice house, maybe one day.
Financially free, as much as one could be.
It would take time to get
Where most people got, just by being born.
As luck would have it, they got where she wanted by
just being born.
At the right place, at the right time.
12 Years, One Month and Nineteen Days Later,
A phone call.
The phone rang from her work bag,
(A foreign number; +1)
She excused herself from the room and locked herself in the balcony.
Her daughter watched her back as she faced away from them.
Two minutes went by, then ten.
She came back into the house
Walked past her daughter and to the living room.
30 minutes, 5 seconds later.
The door to her daughter’s room opened.
They walked in.
She sat across from the girl,
(Baby girl who was not a baby anymore),
“That was my boss,”
“He wants to move us to America.”
Where would we live?
New York, Boston, Chicago?
A hopeful request
Two older and one young shoulder
Let go of stress,
And let excitement fill their souls,
relief and gratitude
for whatever Fates led them to this moment.
flashes of red white and blue before their eyes..
The American Dream got one step closer.
5 Years And Then Some
Baby girl has been living here for 5 years now,
5 years, two schools, one green card and a brand new personality later.
Baby girl has an American accent to her friends back in India.
But her friends in Kentucky say that she has a British accent,
(she doesn’t understand how that’s possible.)
Baby girl is living her childhood dreams,
Going to football games,
Walking alone outside, after 8-PM.
Baby girl finds it hard to listen to her friends when they talk about how much they hate America.
After all she’s been through to get there,
It’s blasphemous to hate the country,
That gave so much hope.
When she was younger,
She had a Dream,
That when she would
Have a Nice House.
With stairs inside,
A backyard that’s just hers.
Maybe a fireplace, if that wasn’t pushing it.
Be financially stable.
As financially free as one could be.
A dream, baby.