....and all that jazZ

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Week 36 and The pursuit of happiness.

Tomorrow we finish 36 weeks. Mowgli will technically be considered term. It was so wonderful seeing him at our last ultrasound rendezvous. Got a glimpse of his face. Not very high resolution but he seemed to have a cute chin and a little scowl. "Like father like son..hahaha".

Today Mowgli and I had a very important meeting to attend. We went for my Naturalization ceremony. I am one of the thousands of Indians who came here in circa 2000, to study purportedly, and eventually find a well paying job, enjoy life and maybe go back to India or not. Green Card was key because it meant security against deportation due to loss of job in a flagging high-tech economy. Citizenship, however, was never a goal or a big deal. Logically because it brought no perks over green card other than the right to vote, or travel to Europe without needing a visa and emotionally because the heart would not come to terms with giving up the Indian passport ( thanks to no dual citizenship). That was year 2000. I was 21 years old.

I laughed so hard when I saw the queue winding up almost 1/2 a mile long. People brought their families and the excitement was palpable. People of all ages ( mostly much older than me), speaking so many different languages all dressed up for this "momentous" occasion in their life. And I just could not fathom what the deal was.

To me it was just another thing that needed to be done for a variety of reasons. Knowing that Mowgli will be born and raised American definitely helped bridge the gap between the heart and the head.(Not to mention the painful Schengen Visa experiences :) and Coolboy). That was until I saw an older couple who identified them selves as from Iraq ( and many such others) who hugged each other and congratulated each other after the swearing in. The unalienable right, guaranteed to all American citizens, unimaginably denied to so many people across the globe is now theirs. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. We, as Indians, take that so much for granted. People from 80 different countries were sworn in at the San Diego city hall today. A lot of them from unimaginably poor countries with no opportunities for people with dreams. A lot of them refugees. A lot of them who never knew what democracy means until they came here.

Today, when I walked out of that room, having been welcomed by President Obama, American citizenship in hand, I was never prouder and happier to have been born and raised in India. To just be Indian.