When I completed my matriculation in 1959,one of my cousins was planning to go to the US. I, too, insisted on going abroad but my parents did not agree, saying I was their only son. I had to reconcile.
My cousin who ventured to go abroad had to struggle his way through Germany and Mexico before he entered the US. He studied and took up a job in the US navy. Recently, he retired as a civilian scientist and received a personal appreciation letter from the American President for his outstanding contribution to the sea force.
I switched from the science to pure arts and, later, completed law. Since I had no aptitude for being a lawyer, my father got me hired as food inspector in the civil supplies department, where the corrupt environment forced me to quit in 15 days.
Attracted now to the armed forces, I kept appearing for selection interviews. Finally, I was picked for two wings—the Indian Navy in the flying branch and the Indian Air Force as ground duty officer (administration). My parents prevailed upon me not to join the navy, since they could not expose me to the risk of a flying career. I was destined to remain on ground.
Serving in the air force, I got a chance in 1982 to go on a world tour on my own. After a month in the US, I was so impressed by the life in the developed countries that my desire to settle abroad was rekindled. But the job security of the IAF and the uncertainty of migration stifled it.
When my son finished Class 12, he wished to study hotel management in Switzerland; an expensive proposition but my wife and I had to agree. When he returned, he said he could not work in the Indian environment. He secured a US visa, went to America, and got married and settled in Canada finally.
When we told him we could not let go of our only son, he assured us he would invite us to live with him in Canada. True to his word, he did sponsor us and we got our immigration in 2000. My dream of settling abroad was coming true at last.
We went to Canada but had to return to care for my mother, whom we could not leave alone. We travelled to Canada almost every year for a couple of months to keep our immigrant status alive but could never settle there.
My mother now has crossed 100 and we are in the 14th year of our immigration, still not sure when or if at all we’ll settle abroad. Plan anything but it’s destiny that decides.