From Bhiwani To Silicon Valley – Part 2

After a mild visa hustle, I finally leave for USA tomorrow on an Airbus. This post is a feeble attempt to pen down all the complex things happening in my life and my brain since I decided to go to US.

During those months when mom was trying to pack for me all things ‘I’ – from a pressure cooker to packets of Indian spices (some whose names I hadn’t heard) to a special Ayurvedic hair oil which I can’t expect to find in US (funnily though I haven’t used hair oil even in India), I was trying hard to stop her from the same. In the end, we reached a compromise and got her to strike out the pressure cooker. Or maybe it is still there in my suitcase, I’m not sure, for I haven’t even seen what she has packed for me :)

My parents have already had the ‘talk’ with me a couple of times. They told me that I’m going to a new world which is, to use their terminology, rather ‘free’. My dad told me that since my birth several astrologers have warned them that any form of intoxication and addiction is disastrous for me. Little does he know that one doesn’t need to go to US for that!  I’ve experienced all sorts of intoxications that they can imagine (not that I particularly long for any).  They told me that some girls are rather shrewd and they might use me – I should not fall in any trap and try to avoid extreme intimacy (if you know what I mean). Again, I found it more appropriate to not tell them about my experience in this field. My mom asked me to keep with me, a small idol of some god – though she knows very well that I’m an atheist (clearly she feels offended every time, I bring this up).

I realized how strongly my belief system collides with theirs – and I also realized that I don’t need to make them retaliate. The best way is just to keep quiet and hope that there is no need for an encounter. Funny thing is, if there is indeed an encounter someday, USA would be made the poor scape goat.

My friends, neighbors and relatives ask me quiet innocuously how am I feeling about going to USA! I can’t explain it to them that I feel dead – that I’m not looking forward to anything except work. I’ve been to US twice already. I’ve taken a whole Europe trip as well; still I’m not very comfortable with foreigners and foreign customs. I feel choked, if I remember my last US trip very well – though I’m sure if I stay for a little longer period, I’d be just fine. I’m a true desi at heart. I like desi food. As much I enjoy talking to a pretty girl who has read Hardy or Shakespeare, I equally enjoy talking to an illiterate desi auto-rickshaw driver or a poor street vendor vending golgappas. I’m going to miss talking to people in regional languages of north India.

And now when we’re on point of missing already, I’ll probably miss my friends – the ones who’re not coming with me and boy, there are many of them. I’ll probably miss my girlfriend with whom I’ve already broken up because long distance isn’t my cup of tea. I’ll miss driving on streets of Bhiwani with Kishore Kumar in the backdrop. I’ll miss parathas in breakfast because breakfast would be all about milk and cereal.

And if feeling dead wasn’t enough, I feel afraid as well. For starter I’m afraid that I’d be terrible at work and that I don’t know anything yet. I’m afraid because I don’t see myself going on any dates in near future. Forget dates, I don’t see myself making good friends with any females. I’m little shy and unsocial for that and I’m not going to a school where social circle comes ready-made. This is going to be particularly weird considering I’d rate my current social status as A+. My friends wink at me after naughtily mentioning the new prospect of one night stands that they claim will open up for me. I just don’t feel it! I’m not excited about any of the things west is more often associated with!

I’m going to US to work and I hope that this anticipated lack of social circle will help me truly immerse in it. Going to US doesn’t feel like honeymoon, neither like a vacation, it feels like a mission to me.

Give me a couple of weeks and I’d write back on how things are shaping up. Pray till then for yours truly, okay?

About the author: I’m Nikhil Garg, 22, coming from a small town called Bhiwani in state of Haryana in India, more conventionally famous for its boxers. I graduated from IIT Delhi in May 2012 as a Computer Science major and I’m going to join an internet startup called Quora as an engineer this October. I can be read at my blog called Yellow Agony and can be contacted through email

About Andrew Harvey

Andrew Harvey is an author, religious scholar and teacher of mystical traditions. As Founding Director of the Institute of Sacred Activism, Andrew has spent the past two decades supporting global peace and sustainability. A lifelong scholar/translator of Rumi, author of more than thirty books on Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity, he has devoted his recent work to envisioning inspired solutions for the world’s current crisis. You can learn more about Andrew on his website: www.andrewharvey.net

  • admin

    Hey Nikhil – Love your direct and free flowing style of writing :) Your experience of coming to US reminds me of mine 15 years back! Yes, THAT long, Gosh! But it seems like yesterday and all that you are saying still rings fresh in my memory :) Thanks for taking us down the memory lane.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X