The antic clock in my room ticked as my eyes followed the pendulum in it swinging to and fro as the time read five in the morning. Just a day since, I graduated and here I was staring at the ceiling in a pensive mood early in the morning. I stretched my feet up and instantly got up from the bed making my way to the washroom.
The mirror reflected my feelings and I squinted my eyes for a few minutes before turning the faucet on and splashing water multiple times on my face and then I took the brush to do my daily chores but again lost in deep thoughts and distracted.
“Maithili? Maithili are you up?” I heard my aunt Suzi and I hummed in response.
“Gosh! What have you done to the room? Its all messed up! Are you done with your packing?” she asked from my room and that was when I stopped looking at the sink, while letting the water flow.
“Yes, I’m done,” I said and quickly washing my face, I walked out of the room.
Aunt Suzi was right there, picking up the dresses that I had thrown on the floor and keeping them on my bed. I spent the whole night packing but also ended up making the room a total mess. I sucked at packing.
She looked up at me giving me a disapproving look to which I just gave her a grin and ran to hug her.
“Ugh! get off! You are already twenty-four but I feel like I’m taking care of a ten year old kid,” she mumbled while I hugged her from the back and chuckled. “But I love you,” I kissed her shoulder and heard her chuckling.
“Hurry, go get a bath and get ready. You don’t wanna miss your flight,” she said and I let go of her, she looked back at me for a second before heading down.
“I’m gonna make breakfast. Hurry now! kid,” I heard her voice which made me sigh. My eyes fell on the printed flight ticket laying carelessly on my bed and I picked it up reading my name and my destination.
“India,” I mumbled trailing my finger over the word. A country to which I belong to, a place where I was born, a place where I have never been to and also the place perhaps where my parents live.
My eyes pooled up with tears and I looked up at the ceiling. I was still not sure if I wanted to do this. I never knew who my parents were and where they were. Why they abandoned me and how I ended up in North Carolina with just an Indian but native American maid named Suzi Roy. She was actually my maid who took care of me since I have been in America.
She speaks fluent hindi and it was how I ended up learning hindi but brought up in America, I was not sure if I could handle the Indian culture while I’m over there because I knew nothing even though I researched a lot about it.
I have always been alone and I had no idea about my parents or family but Suzi. I feel there is some connection with her with my family because every month she hands me over a five-thousand dollar, since the day I became an adult. That cheque has been coming from India for me since I was a child, but yet I had no idea who he or she was who was sending me the money.
I asked Suzi multiple times, but all she told me was it was from India and she had no idea. I was frustrated but I wanted to know who was sending me the money and I wanted to know about my family, so after pestering Suzi for a long time, she finally told me, that if I wanted to find my parents then I can find them in Rajasthan, India.
The day she told me that, I was blissful and beyond happy and made it my ambition to visit India, searching for them as fast as I can.
If they abandoned me, then must be a reason. If they didn’t want me then I will not force them to accept me nor I’m willing to be a part of their family. I just wanted to ask them, why was I all alone throughout my life. What mistake did I do, for they sent me to a foreign land and culture, living my life on my own without anyone. If they don’t care about me then why send me five-thousand dollar cheque every month?
It was useless for me.
But as I looked at the ticket, I was being agitated and skeptical. My brain told me not to go and carry on living the life in America while my heart told me I should go.
A sigh escaped my mouth as I thought about it again and finally decided on going.
“What’s wrong on knowing the reason?” I mumbled as I hurried and went into the bathroom for a good bath.
“Make sure to eat well and don’t even forget to call me when you reach India. Okay?” Aunt Suzi hugged me tight and I could feel her raised heart beat. She was afraid for me, going on my own but since the day I told her about my plans to visit India, she never discouraged or stopped me but she didn’t encourage me either.
Even though I treated her more than as a maid, she kept her limits and treated me as her boss, I had no idea why. That really annoyed me and to some levels I felt, she never really accepted me as a family member, I was the only one regarding and thinking her my family. But deep down, there was feeling in me which told me, perhaps she was bound.
She loved and cared for me, I knew that but still she maintained her distance.
“Take care,” I kissed her cheek and turned around to leave but before I take any more step into the airport, there was a thought that crossed me and has been disturbing me since my childhood. So, before leaving for India, I wanted to ask the question to her and it was why I turned around to ask her.
“Am I an illegitimate child of my parents?” I asked and she gasped.
“Do you want a slap? How dare you say that, you kid,” she whisper yelled at me looking around her surrounding and that made me laugh. “I’ll take that as a no,” I said but even though I joked, deep down I was really nervous and scared.
What if I really was an illegitimate kid and wanting to get rid of me, they sent me to America?
Whatever it was, I will accept it and after knowing the truth, I will be back to America, no matter what. I don’t really belong to the country which doesn’t want me.
With a determination, I wore my shades and walked in to the airport.
“India, here I come.”