Of Cabbages and Kings

December 15, 2006

Filed under: Fiction — Chinmayi @ 6:23 pm

Things were so clear when he started out. His hands moved quickly over dozens of notebooks, fuelled by one thought – must be an engineer. Must be a computer engineer.

So clear. You studied hard and got into a good engineering college. Then you studied even harder and got a job at a multi-national company. After that, it was just around the corner. America with its fried chicken and yellow haired fair-skinned underclad women. Every Indian boy dreamed the American dream.

Once he was there, his mother found him a good girl who would take care of him in the faraway land, and make soft rotis just like the ones he got at home. The girl was eternally grateful to him because like him, her life’s mission was clear – marry a computer engineer and go to America. And they were the dream couple – both with exactly what they wanted, both helping build eachother’s dream, neither resentful.

They bowled over families of America-obsesses relatives with the twang that resonated through their speech – with their American clothes and gait, and with their American gifts.  And they stood at family gathering, Mr. and Mrs. Computer-Engineer-from-America, smiling wide imported smiles as everyone gaped at them in awe.

Yes, it was their dream and it was everyone’s dream. Which  is why it is so difficult to understand why once home and safely installed in their dream, he drinks heavily every night and stares at the wall with the intensity of one who has nowhere to go, and she cries herself to sleep – long silent tears – every night.

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