Not just a journey, but a change of the order of things. A different way of life from what I’ve known.. being alone, independent and adult. Leaving childhood, teenage, college and family so far behind in Bangalore, god only knows what possessed me to come to Blacksburg, flung between ridges on the Blue Ridge on the wrong side of this planet, to spend 5 yrs and earn a doctorate. But, as it is with life, it goes on and some of us are left writing about it :D.
Up until ten days before i left for this country, i frankly did not believe that i would be doing so. Up until two days before i left, i didn’t even have my visa. So, I guess this makes for an interesting account :).
My visa had been placed under the 221(g) exclusion.. which is something the US govt deems to do on any visa they find suspicious enough. Apparently i must’ve had the ‘something-fishy’ look (or perhaps just my luck at play) that i had my visa put on hold. Now, put on hold is a very mild way of saying it. They delayed it for over 3 months! And during these 3 months all i did was check the US-VFS website every Tuesday and Friday to see if my case had progressed any further at all. Its surprising how quickly i’ve forgotten the torture of having hope build up and fall flat on its butt every week.. ooh, what an experience :D. Anyway, 10 days before i was to leave (or rather, my ticket would be valid) they cleared the visa. I rushed to Chennai to get my passport stamped and what do they say? Stamping may take 3-20 days. How i wanted to tell that lady that 3-20 is not a statistically valid range for anything. Everything was uncertain, and that too to an obsessively organised person like me, its no surprise i nearly went bald over the whole period.
In any case, i got my passport one fine Saturday morning and left the next day night. Packing was done in such a hurry and with only the bare necessities. Its almost ridiculous.. to think that i came so far away from home, to settle in such a foreign country, and start a very new way-of-life with 2 medium suitcases and a backpack. Could’ve been worse huh, i might have left the backpack behind :P. Cant complain with the packing mom and sis did though, i’m yet to think of anything materialistic i might have left behind.
Materialistic, of course. In the last min hurry, and the uncertainty of the previous two months… i forgot my goodbyes. Sheesh, i don’t know how any of you handled the parting, but mine was ridiculous! As soon as i entered the airport i checked in and got the boarding pass and went to the waiting lounge and realised that i hadn’t said farewell. That i hadn’t even turned around to see my family once. Or to my city, or my house or street or trees or the sky. Blech! bad bad feeling. That 4 hrs when a new sun rose over Bangalore and my flight was yet to be boarded were so miserable that i was in a state of shock. Of course, the minute i got on the plane and realised that i’m on my own… independent and young and free, oh boy :D. There was no looking back.
How it Stands-