An FOB’s Perspective of Personal Time
My post today is a rebuttal to Sulekha’s – Me-Time – The Sacred Hour. Well, not really a rebuttal as much as the other side of her story. In her post she emphasizes the importance of “me –time” and I couldn’t agree more with her about the sacredness of the time and its utter indispensable character. But here is my story in which that me-time almost seemed like a curse. And this, my dear readers, I am inclined to say, is the voice of innumerable immigrants in the US.
My clamoring for the ‘sacred hour’ was just one of the things that ceased to exist in 2004. That year was the end of what I had thought would be my fairy tale and the beginning of my stay in the US. It was the end of an era and the beginning of another one.
I was married for just about a year then and my life had undertaken a sea change with my husband’s transfer from India to the Land of Stars and Stripes. People often said that marriages have a tendency to do that kind of thing, but I thought they were only “people” talking about “people”. What did I have to do with either set?
So, all for being with the one that I love, I literally uprooted myself from what I called my highly entertaining and successful life (not to mention surrounded with love and warmth to the extent that you think it’s your inheritance) and moved to a place where all other Indians there called me a “FOB”.
When I got to know what that meant though, I was surprised that they intended it to be a tease when it was so true to my situation. Of course I was Fresh off the Boat – what was to hide there? Wasn’t that just another way of saying “not a local”?
FOB Tales: The Sounds of Silence, Day after Day
Anyway, so for the first few months this is what my typical day in Danbury, CT looked like –
7 a.m. – day starts with online news and tea; 8 a.m. the person I was there to be with, leaves for work and leaves me alone to fend for the day (How dare he go out for work when I …..).
8 a.m. – 1 p.m. – morning rituals with every action followed by looking out of the window for something or someone and a craving for noise.
1 p.m. – 5 p.m. afternoon nap to break the oh so tiresome day and silence the brain so I could hear some noise outside.
5 p.m. – 7 p.m. –looking out of the window with brain screaming at the silence of snow; hot tea and hotter tears encouraged even more by Lifetime Television.
7 p.m. – 10 p.m. – finally a lot of noise from a battle ranging between me and the culprit who left me alone. Topic in agenda – “Danbury – friend or foe”? Lesson – Beauty really lies in the eyes of the beholder!
So now dear Sulekha (my Mitr) I hope I have amply proven to you how I can really get on my nerves and instead of rejuvenating myself I may turn depressive.
I was of course able to break this ritual later and got to learn the rules of happiness in a new land but the keyword here is “later” – much, much later. During the time my stubbornness lasted I was scared of being alone with me. I wasn’t good company and the situation threatened my very identity.
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