My husband walked out of the door and I shut it behind him. I locked it so, no one could make ones way into the house. I looked at the empty walls and clean floor. I saw nothing but my luggage scattered around the house. I washed my face and made a coffee for myself. I sat on the floor and looked through the patio window. I saw no one on the roads. All I could hear was the ticking of the clock and the noise of roaring heater. Tears found their way out and memories started smothering me.
Just a few months ago, I looked at mirror and saw that beautiful face with glow. “Are you ready?” asked my mom whom my dad and sister accompanied. Yes. I replied to all and most importantly to myself. I am ready. Ready for marriage. Ready for a life ahead with a man whom I know for less than few months. Ready for a life in a different country. Ready for everything that is going to happen from now on. I opened the door and walked into the wedding hall.
“Surprise” shouted my friends who worked their way to get into my house and decorate it for my birthday three years ago. I had many such pleasant birthdays and was earning enough to throw small size parties once in a while. I had friends who would never forget to surprise me on my birthdays and get me tickets for the movies and more importantly bear my PMS tantrums. My paychecks were not fat, but neither were they anorexic. They had perfect BMI to pay my bills and buy me Oh-I-love-this-dress. My weekends were packed with trips to near by tourist spots and lunches and dinners and parties in India. I was always on the move with my tiny little two-wheeler that accompanied me everywhere I went. I was always surrounded by people and could listen to the whistling of rice cookers even at 11 pm.
But, now, I am all by myself. I can’t go out because it is cold outside. Cold that I experienced only when I opened refrigerators. Where am I now? What I am supposed to do? Do I need this forced break from my hectic schedules? Can I go out on my own? Do I have money to fulfill my sweet nothings? Where are my friends?
I am in the USA, which is a dream for many youngsters. A free nation that lets everyone live the way they wish to. But do I really need this unwanted freedom? Am I blessed or cursed? My VISA status doesn’t allow me to work. I am sadly called as a “dependent” and that is what my Visa says. Yes, for someone who comes as a spouse to someone with working visa is called as dependent. And that is what I am right now.
When my parents were looking for a groom for me, I was hell bent on not getting married to someone who lives out of my city. No. Never. I have everything I want. So, why will I leave all and move? Never-ever. But here I am in the United States of America.
It all happened when I met this guy. Got swept off my feet. Parents liked us. Wedding date fixed. Got married. Boom. In a whirlwind of actions that happened in less than a month, I am in the other part of the world. My husband left for US before me as he couldn’t take leave from his work for longer period. I was by myself to travel into a country just to be with a stranger whom I just got married to.
As I came out of the airport, my husband received me with a bunch of flowers and gave me coat, hat, gloves and asked me to cover up completely. As we started heading back to home, I asked my husband, why I don’t see any people on the roads.
It is very common in India to see people crossing roads everywhere. Chances are, you might even hit a man or a vehicle once a week. They move so close that you can literally shake hands while driving. Stray dogs, cattle, vendors, people fighting over petty things, people honking impatiently, two-wheeler riders wheeling their way from the gaps are the most common sights that one can witness on the roads.
But what am I seeing here? Nothing. No people, no cattle, no honks, no noise. Everything is silent and calm. My husband laughed and told me, that no one walks here on the roads. Really? It came as a shocker to me. The very first shock I got was that I couldn’t see people. That means, I need to make friends or go out to meet people. Or may be live in virtual world.
In real world, I heard many of my friends saying that they are jealous of my routine. My usual routine goes something like this. Wake up in the morning whenever I want. Make coffee. Have breakfast without hunger. Browse through movies to catch up with the ones I missed. Chat with friends online and silently cry. Call family and give them live coverage about the weather, movies, and menu and just about everything. Eat lunch just to not feel hungry. Wait for husband to come so that I can see some real faces in my life. Prepare dinner just because I have to. Eat dinner to increase my bloating. Watch movies again and again and again. And Go to bed just to wake up the next day aimlessly.
“When are you going to have kids? You are free now. You should have kids and use this time”, came an elderly suggestion from families and friends. Why do they think that I should procreate in the free time? I am free because I don’t have a choice. Not because I chose to.
“Go to the mall and spend time. Do some shopping”, suggested many of my friends who think they hardly get time to shop, as they are busy with work. Why should I shop? When should I wear those clothes? How will I go there? Whose money will I spend? There are many unanswered questions.
“I get so frustrated,” says a friend, who also moved to the USA after getting married. “I can’t work. But this is how it is going to be”, she grins. My friend is one of the thousands of brides, who immigrate to this country after getting married.
I came to senses. I love this man. But do I really love my life? The answer is yes and no. I love being a married woman. I love being the wife of my husband. But I hate the very thought that I cannot work and earn my own bread.
“Would you like to try chicken sandwich along with bread bowl and soup?” asked the waitress. “No thanks, I am a vegetarian”, I replied. “Oh honey. You don’t have much choice”, she said with empathy.
Yes, I don’t have much choice. I am a just a veggie sandwich stuck for life between two worlds.