The man was impulsive, even restless. His wife was a cheerful, pious vegetarian. He was a physician posted in his hometown; she had lost her parents at a young age. Both of them grew up in large families. Their little girl was beautiful and bright, the first grandchild of the generation.
That is how I would start the story–my story.
As a doctor living in Kerala, surrounded by family and friends, I should have felt settled and satisfied. And yet, I was not. I was 31 years old and ambitious.
I wanted to pursue higher studies, but I also felt the weight of my obligations to my parents and my siblings. My finances simply weren’t enough to study and at the same time support everyone who depended on me. I realized that the only way I could accomplish those commitments was to explore my chances abroad.
So, one day, the three of us boarded an Air India flight and left. And we left it all behind: our family, our traditions, and the culture that was part of our very element. We were scared and felt alone, and yet we hoped for a better future and for all the opportunities of the West.
The blue sky was scattered with white clouds. The warm air remained stagnant, anxious.
The mood was sad with sobs of separation. It was December 28, 1968, a Saturday.
That was the most decisive moment in my life, as I walked away from an established past to an unknown future. And it took several decades and intense introspection before the impact sunk in, of my role and responsibility in that act, of tearing apart from our centries old genetic bond and its implied immensity.