My father knows that I am very intelligent and he pushed me to wake up everyday and walk to the town over to go to school. He worked as a laborer in order to pay for my supplies. My mother would sew clothes for the people in the village and give lessons to the small children unable to attend school. My grandmother is the village storyteller, her stories were true but she seemed to always add her own spin to them. She loved to tell the same story over and over. The story of a guy running to catch a taxi with his eyes closed. He was running with his eyes closed and ran off a cliff. The moral of her story is if you're going to run make sure you have your eyes open. I have two siblings, an older brother and a younger sister. My older brother left for the States and never looked back. My grandmother always would say he was ashamed of his roots and that is why he forgot about us. He was never close to me anyway because he knew he deserved more than his birthright. My younger sister also has a promising future, she wants to be a dentist or a lawyer or an archaeologist. Her taste for an occupation changes by the day sometimes by the hour.
The plane is landing and the elation within me is building. I will be staying with a family who lives in Queens, New York. The area is called Little Guyana. They say there are Guyanese Indians and Indians from my country who reside there. At least I will feel more comfortable and somewhat at home. This home has housed many students like me who are working on becoming someone other than what is expected of us back at home. The people who own the house are from my village in Mumbai, they are children my grandmother used to tell her stories and my mother used to teach. They were like me, adventurous and knowing that there is something out there beyond what the village has to offer. Once I get off the plane they should be waiting for me at baggage claim. My grandmother told me to look for a boy who looks like me, he would have a look in his eyes of promise and hope.
Once I got off the plane and headed to collect my baggage I noticed the young man who would be my new family. He did have the look my grandmother described in his eyes. I had one large suitcase and a book-bag.
"You must be Avi?" He said with a smile on his face.
I nod, too overwhelmed to answer with my mouth and too shy to show my happiness.
"Don't worry you'll settle in just fine. Your grandmother and mother were so good to me when I was younger it is only right that I reciprocate the favor. You are my brother and I am yours from this day forth." He continued.
"You're Jindal?" Those words were all that I could muster although he expressed such familiarity.
"Yes. Are you ready?"
I was as ready as I could ever be. I grabbed my luggage and followed Jindal to his car. It wasn't like the taxis in our village. This car was clean, the streets were cleaner than home, the air smelled different and there were so many different nationalities of people. This will be my new home but I will never forget my roots here. My brother did but I can't. It is something that is ingrained in me. My very existence is a reflection of my grandmother and my parents. It is my duty to make them proud and make myself proud too. This new journey is for my future. This is my will and my way.