Archive for ◊ July, 2011 ◊

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• Friday, July 22nd, 2011

At a big ceremony organized by Houston Immigration dept and presided by Federal Judge,  I officially become US Citizen by taking oath along with 1400+ immigrants on Jul 20,2011. From just being an Alien, I sworn in as Citizen of America in just few minutes. From saying “Jai Hind“, I was asked to sing  “Proud to be an American” song . It was an unforgettable and emotional moment with mixed feelings ran in my mind. I was excited but at the same time bit mentally troubled when I thought about cutting the cords with my mother land India.

Hail from a small town called Kundrathur located near Chennai, India and born as the eldest son of a middle class couple, it has been a long way to get here and becoming a citizen of one of the biggest country in the world. It is a remarkable milestone to achieve when many millions of people wanting to come to this land of opportunity.  My wife said, it is a great accomplishment from where I am from and being a first generation degree holder to first generation Indian American in my whole family. She said, I should be proud of it.  I totally agree with her and proud of it. But I am unable to accept the fact that I need to delink myself from India, stop saying Indian and start being a American. It is not an easy change and difficult to transition immediately and anybody who loved their homeland and settling down in different country would agree with me on it.

I am a person who likes to remember the path travelled and believe that will help to keep myself balanced and drive me to do the right thing in future journey. India gave me everything from Life to live, Family to depend, Education to nurture, Religion to follow, Culture, Traditions, History to celebrate, Degree to start life, food to devour, Cricket to enjoy and so much more for almost 24 years. It molded me from being a child to an adult for the first leg of my life.

You might wonder why I become citizen of America if I am love my country so much! There is always a reason behind a decision. “Things sometimes happen for reason and God only knows it”. I am a big believer of that statement and like to follow that and my instincts most of the time.  Many indians think that people who go to US, stays in US because they like to earn more money and live the luxury life. That’s not true anymore. That is the thing of the past, nowadays people live in India experience the same luxury and has similar earning power. For example, Indian software professional earns more than American counterpart and has everything from house, car and fun stuffs. There is not a lot of difference compared to the life style but there are other strong reasons which makes their case to stay behind.

When I came to US in 1998 for short visit, I never thought I would come back again. I came back again in Feb 19th, 1999 and made USA my home since then for almost 12 years now. This country has gave me so much by transforming me from a young adult to a grownup Business man. It allowed me to venture out and find the real me, opened doors to adventure lot of things from learning to Swim, Ice skating, Skiing, accomplish higher things like running a Marathon (I could never imagine doing it in India)by challenging myself, experience the fun of ballroom dancing, starting my own business, passing CFP exam, practising as Realtor and more to come. It has been a long journey to reach this milestone which I never thought I would but I am happy to be here.

Being born from India, I was attracted to America especially because of the way of life, which is easy going. I was literaly buttered by the American mind set. It is not about spending more than you earn mentality. It is all about Freedom to do what you want and when you want it. Nobody is going to stop and nobody really bothers you whether you dress like joker or real men. Everyone live their own life to fullest without worrying about others and try to be happy. They are trust worthy people and don’t really pull down anybody leg do to go up in the career ladder. 

Individual privacy is very much respected. Another aspect, everything is easy and really process oriented.  That makes your daily life easier. Even paying high taxes doesn’t bother us because you get the facilities of good school and healthy school system without partiality. Finally, one doesn’t have to worry about corruption/bribing someone to get things done. It doesn’t affect us, ordinary person life in anyway. That’s the important thing. I sometimes feel guilty for get away from the trouble back in India and neglecting the mother land to settle in US. But that’s not true. I can speak for myself and every NRI around the world, being far away make us feel more closer than ever to our country and every one does something or other possible to help and develop the land which helped them grow.

Becoming a Naturalized Citizen of America might be a big deal but it doesn’t change a thing in my daily life. Being said that, it does comes with lot of perks which helps to shape our future. For example,  Social security benefits for family, allow us to create Living Trust to secure the asset, voting rights, free entry to many foreign nations and few more. Sometimes good stuff has side effects as well. It is going to be hard to get used things like getting a visa/entry pass to visit India, losing the privilege to vote in India and restricted access to purchase any land in India and few more. These process changes can be handled but emotional aspect while visiting India is going to be tough one and I hope time well help me to get over it. We also hope to go back to my mother land some day when I achieve and get to my goals and ready to retire but you never know time will only show us the path.

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