Sujay and me were friends. We had met in the corridors of the same hostel in Hyderabad, where both of us were pursuing higher studies.
When I got a job in Delhi, he invited me to stay with his mother who was alone now, with all her sons settled – except him. I took the offer and spent many happy years of my working life at their residence.
Whenever Sujay found time off from the MBA he was pursuing in Hyderabad he would come to Delhi to be with his mother and me. After dinner we used to walk around the colony, and talk about life. He came across as increasingly lonely, the times we met. He looked at my frenetic life and asked me if being active helped chase the blues.
After I moved to my own digs, a few kilometers away, we continued to meet, if fitfully. We were children of the same generation. Once after I reached him to Nizamuddin station, I walked drearily back feeling like my heart was in my shoelaces.
Out of the blue he announced he had met Cathy. Sujay was the quiet type. I was curious. When I went around he told me he had met her on the internet – and she was coming down to see him. She would stay with them. Such haste was uncalled for, I thought, but kept my mouth shut. Cathy from Tennessee loved blue grass music and played some for me on her laptop when I met her. Sujay’s world was complete. They were married in Delhi in accordance with Hindu rituals.
After intense effort, Sujay got his visa and moved to the US to join Cathy. Times were tough. In America the recession was big. Jobs were being outsourced to Asians. And Sujay had left it all behind. Even after doing his MBA, Sujay hated India. When he and Cathy did manage to make a trip down to Delhi he castigated this land, where he had been born and brought up, even more vocally. ‘You must be a nerd, sticking around here,’ his eyes seemed to say.
Soon they were blessed with a son. They tried to make ends meet -- she as a part-time teacher, he in a grocery store. When his mother went over to be with them lately, she was tight-lipped on her return. I sensed something was amiss, but cultural difference was part of the deal. By then I had called it a day in Delhi, met Queenie and we moved to Goa.
When I last called Sujay’s mother from Goa she spoke resignedly. Shubham, their son, was now staying 3 days with Sujay and 4 days with his mother. An email yesterday from Sujay confirmed that they had separated. ‘How should I dispel his confusion?’ Sujay wrote, ‘We have many Gods, the protestants believe in only one.’ Was this the ABCD syndrome? Shubham, now 5 years, was not yet an American Born Confused Desi. Or was he?
Published in Gomantak Times Weekender St. Inez, Goa on 10 March 2013; Pix. source Kootation.com; See next post for the American Dream.