The ‘Grown up’ Feeling

When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever)?

Four years back I had to leave my home for further studies. My university was far away from my home so it was evident that I had to stay at hostel for next two years. The day before the journey I was a little sad as I never stayed far away from my home earlier. My parents accompanied me to help me settle over there.

I was not sure whether I will be able to handle everything on my own without my parents by my side. There were many other girls,some from older batch and others from the incoming batch, like me. I made friends with some of them on the very first day. My parents halted at a nearby hotel but I stayed with my new friends in the hostel, my home for next two years.

The next morning my parents came to meet me before returning back to home. My mom had tears in her eyes but I did not cry. I tried to calm her. I hugged her and said not to worry about me and I promised her that I will take good care of myself. Earlier I was the one who cried and my mother always calmed me. But this time it was other way around. After my parents left I sat alone in my room for sometimes and suddenly I felt like a grown up.

The hostel life indeed helped me to grow up. It gave me independence. I handled not so good situations, I learnt making decisions on my own. It also gave me some true friends who are now inseparable part of my life.

In response to Daily Prompt: All Grown Up.

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The Day Her Wait Started

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Hindsight.”

My first ever post in wordpress on July,2014

She woke up early and stared blankly at the ceiling as finally the day arrived, inspite of her million wishes that it should not. The previous night she decided not to sleep and talk whole night with her husband. They kept on talking about the funny and not so funny things they did together in this last one month as the night passed. She wished the sky remained dark forever but darkness faded into the light. And it came with the fact that her husband will have to leave that day, without her. The packing was almost done. She helped with the final touch and also attached the name stickers on the luggage. The name stickers were handwritten by her. She gently attached them and felt that at least they will travel along with her husband. How she wished that she was just a sticker. Then there would be no boundaries for her.
They stayed together for 1 and a half months after marriage. Yes, they were newly married couple. July, they were married and mid August he was going to leave. She knew that, it was going to happen sometime soon. But she had no idea it was going to be this hard. Immigrating to USA is not an easy job, especially if someone is married to Legal Permanent Resident of USA. But she thought she could handle the separation. After all it’s not going to be forever. She was so happy with the thought of the marriage that she forcefully ignored the fact of being separated afterwards. But the day finally came. She tried hard to control her emotions as she did not want to show it to the other family members. It’s not good for a wife to show her emotions for her husband in India, especially if she is a new one.
She tried not to think about the separation on the way to the airport. Her husband was still acting like she was also going with him. On last few days they traveled to various places together. Maybe he was thinking about this journey as the previous ones. They reached the airport very early and waited there for about 2 hours. Then he got ready for the departure. She stood there with tears in her eyes and looked at him. That very moment, she saw the pain in his eyes. She forced herself to stop her tears. She never wanted him to see her crying and increase his pain. She wanted to be strong. She kept on staring until he faded among the crowd. She stood for some more time and left the airport.
She thought she will be alright after she reached home. But returning to a home without him, was worse than she thought. Each and every corner of their home was reminding her about him. She took a shower and tried to take a nap. She argued with her mind to stay calm and accept the fact that now she has to wait. She has to wait to see her husband again and the fact is, that the waiting period is unknown.
That night she could not sleep. She cried all night. Next morning when she woke up she reached for her husband sleeping beside her only to get back to the harsh reality, he was gone.
When they were in a long distance relationship, they thought marriage will make that wait easier. Both of them waited so long. But that morning without him, she realized the wait has just begun. And it was going to be harder than she thought.

A Fallacy

Clichés become clichés for a reason. Tell us about the last time a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush for you.

One such cliché in Indian society is, Glorifying arranged marriages. Though it is not an idiom or a phrase but it is a state of mind in our society.

Arranged marriages are viewed as a tradition over the ages in Indian Society. Though love marriages are common now-a-days and it did happen in the past but love marriages are yet to become a cultural part. I do not have anything personal against arranged marriages but I just don’t feel overwhelmed with joy when arranged marriages get so much praises over love marriages.

The basis of arranged marriage is built upon the fact that both the bride and the groom should belong to the same or comparable caste. Otherwise marriage is a strict no no. First comes the caste, love comes afterwards in case of arranged marriage.

Though the basis of love marriage is “love,” it is still looked down upon by many elders here in India. “You know what, my friend’s daughter got married with a guy who belongs to a lower caste,” a very common topic of discussion that I have heard so many times.

Some are even more creative finding faults in love marriages, “Your son had a love marriage? See, I warned you earlier that he is seeing a girl. My son is so obedient unlike yours. He will get married according to my wish.” In their view a love marriage brings disgrace to the family. They try to make us feel that indeed love marriage is a matter of shame whereas arranged marriages are the reason to be proud. They give lectures on caste and the ancient culture and the beneficial reasons to get married inside the caste. They think it is their responsibility to find their children a life partner. They even try to influence the parents who do not feel the intense urge to control their children in choosing their life partner.

I chose to get married to the person I love. It was hard for both of us, still we were determined to get over the adversities. Our parents were reluctant at first but finally they supported us. They disregarded the bad things that others had to say about our marriage.

It is high time that people stop listening to these fallacies and move on because the basis of the marriage should be love, not any single other thing. It is okay to have an arranged marriage inside same caste but it is also okay to have an inter caste love marriage. In fact, more and more inter caste marriages will help the future generation to be free from the thoughts of caste and creed. After all there is no need to follow the rule, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

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The Chaos Theory

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “To Be Resolved.”

I do not make any New Year resolution. In fact I never had any in the past either. The reason behind that is, I can never know what challenges are there in store for me beforehand. So, there is no point to take a pen and piece of paper and jot down the probable resolutions that I will never meet throughout the year.

In our universe also everything is not in order. The weather, the nature all shows some chaotic behaviour. So are our lives. Life can not go on by the rules that are preset by us. It goes by cause and effect. That’s why I like the term “Butterfly Effect” from the chaos theory so much. Life is not all about order, about equilibrium but it is also about chaos, about disorder. As long as there is a balance between order and disorder, everything is perfectly fine. Afterall perfect internal disorder is synonymous with equilibrium. I learnt that in the chapter of Entropy (order and disorder).

Having a resolution is kind of fancy for me. I always have a tendency not to follow the rules if that comes as a burden.  That does not mean I do not have any goal in my life. Of course I have my goals and priorities. But they are something that I need not write down and memorize with every passing year. New year is coming and I am ready to welcome it along with the challenges it throws upon me. I believe I have to work according to the situation not by the resolution. Till now I have been successful with that. I believe in the ‘order’ that comes after the ‘disorders.’

So, this year also like other years, no resolution for me.

“Where The Santas are Coming From?”

You get to choose one gift — no price restrictions — for any person you want. The caveat? You have to give it anonymously. What gift would you give, and to whom?

Today I will not write about me or my choice. Instead I am going to share the story of original secret Santas who create the gifts for us anonymously.

Christmas is already knocking on the door and everybody is super busy for the preparation. Gifts are ready with colourful wraps. Santa and reindeers are also ready to visit us. But do we know where they come from?

When my brother was young he used to ask me pointing at the miniature Santas arranged in the shop, “Where is Santa’s home and workshop for making gifts for children?”

“It is in the north pole,” that used to be my prompt reply.

“Only one workshop?” My brother seemed puzzled. “How all the children get the toys then?”

“Didn’t I tell you there are many elves who work very fast throughout the year?”

“The elves, yes I know that. What will Santa give me this year?” my brother seemed exited.

After that many winters have passed. My brother does not ask about the whereabouts of red clad miniature Santa anymore. Neither do I think about it. But a small news in our local daily attracted my attention today. My little brother was right. Santa has more than one workshop and they are not in the north pole. The real workshops are situated at a village called Yiwu, about 300 km away from Shanghai city in China. The Yiwu village is known as the ‘Christmas Village.’ And what is the colour of the workshop? Yes you got it right, it is all red. Red floors, red ceilings, even the curtains are red.

I was amazed to know the fact that about 60 percent of the world’s total decorations for Christmas are made inside the 600 workshops that are spread across the village. There are no real elves to speed up the process. The workers are mainly migrant labourers who work up to 12 hours continuously. They make variety of things including mini Santa Claus, red stockings, shoes, red hats, Christmas trees and even LED lights for decoration.

They work so hard to bring that special smile on our face on Christmas day but they do not have a clear idea about what Christmas is.

“Maybe it’s like (Chinese) New Year for foreigners, says Wei, a 19 year old worker from a workshop at Yiwu. Wei and his father migrated from rural Guizhou to this place in search of a job that offers comparatively good pay. Wei and his father wear around 10 masks every day while working in the workshop to save themselves from the crimson red powder that is used to colour the decorative items. This is the reason behind the red attire of the whole workshop. The dust can cause acute bronchitis if it enters the windpipe. The working condition is not good and they plan to return to their home and never come back again to the workshop, once they have earned enough money.

The items are taken to Yiwu International Trade Market which is labelled as “largest small commodity wholesale market” by UN. The mini Santas start their journey all around the globe from this place. When a child looks at the red clad Santa and smiles, it is possible the reason behind that smile is one of the workers at Yiwu Christmas Village. The workers are the secret Santas for the children all around the world. But somehow I feel sad because of the poor working condition the workers have to deal with to make us smile. They deserve better than this because they bring hope and happiness to us. I just pray for their happiness.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

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Getting Seasonal

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Getting Seasonal.”

Holiday season is near. An eventful year is going to end and a brand new year is about to begin. The question is am I happy and exited for the celebrations?

Honestly, I am ready for the season of celebrations but I am not as exited and happy as before. When I was young any festival meant a lot to me. One of the major reason behind that was that we had holiday breaks during that time in our school. No homework,no waking up in the morning and playing all day long doubled the joy of holiday season. My favourite activity was to read story books during the holidays. I read those books so eagerly that my mom used to say that if I had read my textbooks with half of that enthusiasm I would have topped my board exams.

I was not allowed to read story books daily while semesters were going on. But in holidays I was free from that restriction. The second reason to be happy was that during this time we got new dresses. Shopping throughout the year was not common at that time, so we children always waited for this time of the year.

Holidays and celebrations meant all the relatives gathered together at a place and enjoyed the time. We have a large group of cousins and we had a lot of fun together.

But now holidays are not that much exiting anymore. Those large gatherings are now a matter of history. We grew up and scattered in different parts of the globe and all of us now do not have a common time and common place to meet.

When I was young and had so many restrictions I wanted to grow up quick but now that I grew up, I realize that there was a hell lot of fun then in spite of the restrictons. I was so busy to grow up and be free. But now that I am free I feel those days were best of my life.

The exitement and happiness that I had for the holidays during my childhood can not be compared to the present time. Nowadays it has became a routine but earlier it was a mystery that I eagerly waited for.

In Due Time We Will Be Together

What’s your next, most pressing deadline? Are you excited, stressed, or ambivalent about it? What’s the first thing you’d like to do once you’re done with it?

To tell about my deadline, a little description about myself is needed here. I am married and waiting for an immigrant visa to be available to be with my husband. My husband recently became an US citizen but he was a Legal permanent resident (LPR) at the time of our marriage. Now there is a major difference in immigration process between a spouse of an US citizen and a spouse of an LPR. There is no annual quota limit for visa in case of USC spouses but there is an annual limit of visas for spouses of LPRs. So, it is very common for a spouse of LPR to wait for 2-3 years to get an immigrant visa while the spouse of an US citizen can get that within a year.

The USC can file IR1/CR1 (Immediate relative category) petition on behalf of their spouse. Once approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) the IR1/CR1 case moves to National Visa Center (NVC) and they are processed without any further delay.

While the LPR can file F2A (Family 2nd preference category) petition for their spouse and unlike IR1/CR1 once approved by USCIS though it moves to NVC but it is hold there until the priority date (PD) for the petition becomes current ( which sometimes takes 2 or more years to be current) .

I understand that the immigration process is very hard for anyone who is undergoing this process, be it a spouse of citizen or spouse of LPR but the extra waiting part is very hard in case of LPR spouses. It gets real tough for the newly wed couples like us. We know each other for 10 years now and we were in a long distance relationship for total 6 years before we got married. But still me and my husband were constantly upset and had several altercations because of this long distance and zero progress in our immigration case. We got married to end this distance but the time has not come yet.

So here is our immigration story in short and my most pressing deadline:

We married last year in july (2013) but did not file an I130 petition. We did not know the details about the procedure then. We were just about to file the petition when some people scared us saying that it will take 5 years to get a visa if we file under F2A category. So, we thought to wait until my husband gets his citizenship. Then unexpectedly all the priority dates (PD) for F2A category became current during aug-sep last year. And we got extremely unlucky as we did not file right after my marriage.

Finally, my husband filed the I130 petition this year on May. All the credit goes to an online forum called Visa Journey where I got all the information needed to file a petition. I wish I knew about this wonderful forum earlier then I could have celebrated my marriage anniversary with my husband this year. But better late than never.
Right now our case is pending at NVC since early September as our PD is not current and we are under F2A category.
My husband applied for his citizenship way back in early february but his local office is on NYC and that is heavily backlogged. His naturalization ceremony was held on last week of November. Immediately after he got the naturalization certificate he emailed NVC to upgrade our case from F2A to IR1/CR1 so that our case can start moving.The representatives there told that it will take 60 days to upgrade that case. 60 days!!!! Isn’t that more than enough time to upgrade a case? I feel so upset. After upgrading also, there are many more steps left to be done at NVC. They will also take their share of time. But right now my only wish is to cross this upgrading part so that my pending case ultimately starts moving and the distance between me and my husband lessens with each passing day. That is my most pressing deadline that I need to cross.

After that I will be happy to finish this one and be ready for another deadline. I have made my own set of deadlines to cope up with this tedious immigration process. If I count all the deadlines at once that will make me too stressed to think about other things. So, I divided the whole process in smaller sets of deadlines so that I can celebrate while I pass each one of them and maintain my sanity.

I really hope to be with my husband in our marriage anniversary next year. In due time we will be together.

In response to Daily Prompt: In Due Time

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A Poem For My Husband

The day I first saw you,

You didn’t notice me;

Was the day I fell for you

And all was you that I could see.

You looked so cute,

With white shirt on.

I still can’t forget,

So quick you were gone.

Right from that moment,I loved you

But you didn’t know.

I wondered; if you will love me too

And was afraid to show.

Then I talked to you

for the very first time.

You said we should be friends.

I said yes, but it was a lie.

Together we felt so happy.

Our friendship grew.

We talked for hours.

I knew you loved me too.

The first time you hold my hand,

The first feeling of our kiss,

The first time you said you love me,

All are now sweet memories.

Now that you are mine,

I feel so complete.

I fall in love everyday,

It grows with every heart beat.

Thank you sweetheart

For coming into my life

Without you life wouldn’t be the same

Thanks dear for making me your wife.