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Friday, May 1, 2009

One Bedroom Flat....


As the dream of most parents I had acquired a degree in Software Engineer and joined a company based in USA , the land of braves and opportunity. When I arrived in the USA, it was as if a dream had come true.

Here at last I was in the place where I want to be. I decided I would be staying in this country for about Five years in which time I would have earned enough money to settle down in India

My father was a government employee and after his retirement, the only asset he could acquire was a decent one bedroom flat.

I wanted to do some thing more than him. I started feeling homesick and lonely as the time passed. I used to call home and speak to my parents every week using cheap international phone cards. Two years passed, two years of Burgers at McDonald's and pizzas and discos and 2 years watching the foreign exchange rate getting happy whenever the Rupee value went down.

Finally I decided to get married. Told my parents that I have only 10 days of holidays and everything must be done within these 10 days. I got my ticket booked in the cheapest flight. Was jubilant and was actually enjoying hopping for gifts for all my friends back home. If I miss anyone then there will be talks. After reaching home I spent home one week going through all the photographs of girls and as the time was getting shorter I was forced to select one candidate.

In-laws told me,to my surprise, that I would have to get married in 2-3 days, as I will not get anymore holidays. After the marriage, it was time to return to USA , after giving some money to my parents and telling the neighbors to look after them, we returned to USA

My wife enjoyed this country for about two months and then she started feeling lonely. The frequency of calling India increased to twice in a week sometimes 3 times a week. Our savings started diminishing. After two more years we started to have kids. Two lovely kids, a boy and a girl, were gifted to us by the almighty. Every time I spoke to my parents, they asked me to come to India so that they can see their grand-children.

Every year I decide to go to India. But part work part monetary conditions prevented it. Years went by and visiting India was a distant dream. Then suddenly one day I got a message that my parents were seriously sick. I tried but I couldn't get any holidays and thus could not go to India The next message I got was my parents had passed away and as there was no one to do the last rights the society members had done whatever they could. I was depressed. My parents had passed away without seeing their grand children.

After couple more years passed away, much to my children's dislike and my wife's joy we returned to India to settle down. I started to look for a suitable property, but to my dismay my savings were short and the property prices had gone up during all these years. I had to return to the USA

My wife refused to come back with me and my children refused to stay in India. My 2 children and I returned to USA after promising my wife I would be back for good after two years.

Time passed by, my daughter decided to get married to an American and my son was happy living in USA I decided that had enough and wound-up every thing and returned to India. I had just enough money to buy a decent 02 bedroom flat in a well-developed locality.

Now I am 60 years old and the only time I go out of the flat is for the routine visit to the nearby temple. My faithful wife has also left me and gone to the holy abode.

Sometimes I wondered was it worth all this? My father, even after staying in India, had a house to his name and I too have the same nothing more.

I lost my parents and children for just ONE EXTRA BEDROOM .

Looking out from the window I see a lot of children dancing. This damned cable TV has spoiled our new generation and these children are losing their values and culture because of it. I get occasional cards from my children asking I am alright. Well at least they remember me.

Now perhaps after I die it will be the neighbors again who will be performing my last rights, God Bless them. But the question still remains 'was all this worth it?'

I am still searching for an answer...... ......... .!!!!

By an Indian SE who was in US.

1 comment:

daraamar said...

I am also 60 years old and a Professor of Medicine and Vice-Dean, retiring from st John's Medical college, this August 2009.
When I passed my MBBS in 1971, I passed the ECFMG and got several residencies in hospitals across the USA.To this day, my classmates cannot figure out why I never went to USA (when it was so much easier than now ! ).I immediately joined my own Medical College as a lecturer then and I am now retiring as the Vice Dean of St. John's. My wife is a doctor graduated from Hyderabad and is now got 2 years to retire as Head of Dept of Medicine at St. John's. My younger son is also a recently (2005)graduated doctor at St. John's.
My classmates became millionnaires at the USA but we are caring for their ailing parents left behind at Bangalore.They are ever so grateful that I never followed them and I am now able to look after the medical needs of their parents. We have a beautiful 4 bedroom ,double storied house (purchased through Loans which we paid back slowly over 30 years and after much sacrifice) at Koramangla in Bangalore.One of our elderly patients SOLD it to us at the prevailing MARKET PRICE.My elder son is at London university, just beginning to work.
We had NO ancestral property or heritage money to inherit and the salary was severly limited at St. John's (Missionary Hospital, after all !)and we did NO private practice.We will start practice after retirement this year.We have grateful patients WAITING for us to start practice - MOSTLY the elderly and lonely parents left behind here, of my classmates in the USA who are ONLY too grateful to us for looking after their parents left behind here.
Our sons are too young in their career to help us financially.We continue to finance them and they have learn't to live frugally from our example.
We have a car(early version of Maruti minicar whose car Loan was just repaid after 10 years and the car still serves us a faithful 12 Kilometers per litre of petrol.) We love India and the booming city of Bangalore.
The answer is simple. We decided to CHALLENGE OURSELVES and not follow the "Herd mentality" of our classmates in 1971.
Dr. Dara Amar- available at e-mail

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