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Desis, Dilemmas and More! – A Golden Cage

Post by: Kabita Sonowal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Learning from other people’s mistakes saves you a lot of time. Plus, you are saved from the consequences of the mistakes that you avoided making in the first place!”
 
-    Ruchika Mathur, Desis, Dilemmas and More!

 

Desis, Dilemmas and More! is a collection of short stories based on the experiences of first-time Indian travelers to the States. Inspired by real-life experiences, a lot of travelers have experienced the unexpected at immigration and during their stay in America. This is the reason why the author took great pains to compile and write this fresh, unique and versatile collection so that future travelers could be on the alert and make the appropriate arrangements. As she aptly remarks, “In the rush of getting things done in time, people tend to focus on their pre-departure requirements. In the bargain, they end up ignoring pertinent post-arrival issues. There are a lot of things a new entrant to the United States must be aware of with respect to the country, some important procedures, rules, laws. Unawareness and ignorance of these can lead to precarious situations.”

 

One of the stories, A Golden Cage illustrates a tale of broken dreams. Jyoti, a go-getter and ambitious architect from India marries Mohit, an engineer who works for a semi-conductor firm in the States. Married and living in the States for two years now, she begins to suffer from a lack of self-esteem, anxiety and angst. She had earlier settled into a life of marital bliss on foreign shores without difficulty; she enjoyed a life of what regular homemakers did in her situation. However as time passes by, she looks back at her life in India when she studied to become an architect and practiced as one until marriage.

 

In a hazy and nonchalant way, Mohit had assured Jyoti before marriage that she could find a job in the States. It was now that realization hit her that ‘Spouses on an H-4 visa in the U.S. are not permitted to work. They cannot acquire a social security number either. Thus there are several limitations that they experience while living in the U.S. Apart from being unable to work and earn money, sometimes getting a driving license or an individual bank account is also a problem. In some states, possessing a social security number is imperative in order to obtain a driving license’. Further Mohit suggestively rules out the option of Jyoti applying for a Masters degree adding that they might end up living in different places and that he might have to pay for her fee if she did not manage a scholarship.

 

Jyoti feels helpless as nobody can help her out and she feels that she is ‘freefalling in an endless abyss with no way out’. The author’s note at the end of the story is very informative. She highlights that one could suffer from psychological concerns as a result of their helplessness. She also suggests options to carry out a comprehensive research and explore options to convert their current visa into another one.

 

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Kanchan in Early Bird Lands in a Soup (A short story from Desis, Dilemmas and More) Kanchan told her sister, Juhi in shocked horror. This quote forms the crux of the message in Desis, Dilemmas and More!. Kanchan traveled to the States to pursue a Masters in Electrical Engineering in one of the universities there. She landed there a couple of weeks prior to the start of the academic session because she wanted to hang out with her sister in Austin. At immigration in the States, she landed in a muddle. Luckily, after a round of interrogation, she was allowed to move past immigration and meet her sister.
Wed,Jan 16th 2013 7:26 AM
Kanchan in Early Bird Lands in a Soup (A short story from Desis, Dilemmas and More) Kanchan told her sister, Juhi in shocked horror. This quote forms the crux of the message in Desis, Dilemmas and More!. Kanchan traveled to the States to pursue a Masters in Electrical Engineering in one of the universities there. She landed there a couple of weeks prior to the start of the academic session because she wanted to hang out with her sister in Austin. At immigration in the States, she landed in a muddle. Luckily, after a round of interrogation, she was allowed to move past immigration and meet her sister.
Wed,Jan 16th 2013 7:25 AM
Desis, Dilemmas and More! is a compilation of fourteen short stories about first-time Indian travelers to America. Inspired by real-life scenarios, Ruchika Mathur has expressively written them that also serve as case studies that first-time travelers need to pay heed. The authors note at the end of each story serves as a guide and it is indeed a word of common sense to most first-time travelers.
Wed,Jan 16th 2013 7:23 AM
Indian students going to the States to study for the first time might overlook the required visa preparation if they decide to travel there before the start of their academic sessions. Carelessness might land them in a quandary. Therefore Ruchika Mathur emphasizes on the importance of taking care of all these unavoidable rules. The Department of Homeland Security clearly cautions prospective international students who are freshers or beginners at an American University to make their travel plans in accordance with this rule. Now, what is this rule? One might ask! Well, the rule is that new international students can enter the United States within 30 days of the starting date of their programs ONLY.
Wed,Jan 16th 2013 7:20 AM