They sold you a dream which you bought hook, line, and sinker! But did you ever stop and consider that the land of dreams is the same where nightmares reside?
It is the land of opportunities. So when you heard of that opening, you did all you could to ensure your name was there among the contenders. You slogged while your pregnant wife fretted alone at home. The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley that you had begged your colleague for, and had been hoarding for a special occasion, now adorned the cabinet of your boss. Weary dinners where your jaws ached from laughing at his jokes finally result in your name getting included in that onsite list. Your dollar dreams are taking shape.
You can’t hold in your smile, your eyes bright with hopes of a rosy future, your wife’s with unshed tears. She doesn’t share your enthusiasm for long lonely hours without company or help, especially in her condition. You convince her with your eloquent words, glowing visions, and hopes for citizenship for your child.
Packing and storing a life in numbered boxes is a difficult task. You learn to be brutal. How else could you shrink your life into two suitcases each that you are allowed to take with you? Practicality wins over sentimentality. You pack clothes for all seasons, medicines, spices, and utensils, while your wife surreptitiously packs in your wedding album and a little idol of Ganesha, the lord of good beginnings. After innumerable shopping trips and even more packing-unpacking sessions, you reach the land of dreams.
You feel blessed and gloss over the unfamiliar food, the cramped living quarters, and the gnawing loneliness when you talk home. You soon make friends and learn which restaurant serves that perfect steamed idli and sambhar to go with it.
You welcome your little bundle of joy, video chatting with the grandparents who couldn’t get a visa and have to be content with his pictures, snaps of Annaprashan, birthdays, and his first steps. A life chronicled in second-hand memories.
You keep making promises to your parents about coming back but never find the right time. You make the down payment for that house you have had your eye on forever, as the long nights of bottle feeding and diaper changing end. You don’t even realize and one day your little one’s ready with a placard saying ‘The First Day of Kindergarten.” You frame the picture above the mantelpiece, proud, happy, and content. You are finally inching towards that American dream.
But dreams are like balloons. Once the balloon bursts, you are left with nothing but the limp string. Like the broken body of your kid. All it takes is a teenager with angst and a rifle that he bought at the corner store.
Ping, ping, ping.
You thought it was a dream you bought, but it turned out a nightmare. One you can’t wake up from, ever.
Pic credit: Ksenia Chernaya from Pexel.com
Annaprashan: A ceremony for a young kid where he is given food for the first time
Ganesha: Hindu God
Idli: Steamed rice cakes
Sambhar: Lentil soup to go with idli