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Bye, Baltimore. contd . Part 2


Sharath, who took me to the USCIS office for the interview enquired the officer whether he could be with me inside, as I might have problem to follow her pronunciation.

‘Don’t worry,’ assured the charming lady smiling, ‘your dad will be fine’.

Here, all officials smile and speak sweetly. Even a doctor conveying to the cancer patient that his days are limited will
flash a sweet smile and tell him, ‘oh, lucky you are! You have three more months to enjoy your life!’.
A techie with twenty years of service was shown the door one fine evening unceremoniously. His CEO came out of her chamber to bid him farewell, hugged him and lamented, ‘we will miss you from tomorrow. Enjoy life’

Enjoyment indeed! That poor man has three school going children and commitments of monthly loans-repayments for house, two cars, three sofa sets, four kitchen garden, five garden tools etc with no saving in the bank!

Here, the youngsters don’t worry about ‘tomorrow’.
They don’t save a cent for the future. Why should they? The banks don’t pay even 1% interest!

The immigration officer led me to her chamber and after making me comfortable in a seat, showed me a piece of paper and asked whether I could read and copy down the one sentence, typed on it.

It was like asking BakAsura whether he would like to have a lamb leg for lunch!

‘One sentence?’, I almost got up from my seat and told her,
‘Madam, I’m a writer. I have a blog with hundreds of followers. I write amazing poetry. Shall I recite a poem applauded by half of the world?’

Without waiting for her approval, I got up from my seat and raising my right hand, as if I was on a stage before a big audience, started;

‘Moon, your music flows in my inner stream, what a melody!’

That was the least response she expected from an old man who
wanted a guide in the interview chamber!

‘Incredible!’ She applauded, convinced of my English proficiency but still asked me to read and write that single sentence. Rule is rule and here everyone follows it, except the mad guys who shoots down people for no reason!

The question session was a child’s play, rather an old man’s play.
I answered all the five questions she asked, accurately, interspersed with interesting jokes.

The next job was to ask me questions related to my personal behavior, family relationship etc, for which I had already given replies, but she had to verify whether my oral answers tallied with my written replies.

Two sample questions :

1-How many times have you been married (including annulled marriages, marriages to other people, and marriages to the same person)?
2- How many times has your current spouse been married (including annulled marriages, marriages to other people, and marriages to the same person)? If your current spouse has been married before, provide the following information about your current spouse’s prior spouse.

Irrelevant for me but it was her duty to ask. I had to reply ‘no’ and she had to ‘tick’ those entries having verified! That is the rule and everybody follows the rule here, except—!

My son who was waiting outside was worried. ‘Is she grilling dad and is he struggling to answer?’, was his worry, whereas inside, we both were happily discussing about general issues like Indian family bond and English literature!

After full forty five minutes, the charming lady, came out with me holding my hand and handing over me to my son said, ‘your dad did a good job. Congrats ‘

After a couple of days, Megh took me for the ‘oath taking’.

She was keenly watching my facial expression worrying weather I would be able to withstand the mental strain while
uttering the oath dictated.

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

I did take the oath, with choked throat.

‘Are you OK, dad?’, enquired Megh while coming out of hall, though she knew that I was not all that ‘OK’.

‘Compromise in life, at times becomes a necessity,’ I told her.
And told myself: ‘you didn’t do a favour to your children but only ensured that you don’t land in a vrudhasramam, old age home’

To continue

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