‘Morning! Your appointment time?’ was the best my nervous self could squeak. -9:30 came the reply as did several other replies. Some confident and chirpy, a few as subdued as me. Realisation dawned that a 100 odd young men and women who had queued were all given the same time! Amazing! Such competence! Daft! My rational self, reprimanded me. I Scratched my head in wonder at the efficiency of the workers who take pride in the flag with 50 stars and thirteen stripes. All candidates on the hour, one on one, seemed unlikely. That’s way too many employees needed, I rationalised. So, the obvious, quickie interviews perhaps. The second possibility made me heave a sigh of relief. We had arrived for the visa interview at the embassy of the most revered and sought-after destination ,USA. All the knots in the stomach untied. Worries eased away.
But that was just the beginning! For the assumed quickie turned out to be a four-hour journey into the womb that refused to mature and let out the baby- wailing or ecstatic. Us, the expectant parents waited with bated breath whilst the heat outside rose; the anxiety within peaked. All applicants who had been taken in were being sent out, their faces lit with radiant smiles. One after the other streamed out beaming faces, from what seemed like an impregnable fortress. The trickle turned into a stream and literally a flood with no signs of our son. The possibilities of him being lost in the uterine fluid increased as the faint traces of his earlier presence in the car too faded away with the vanishing minutes.
As minutes turned into a few hours and desperation gave way to hopelessness, we overheard an excited conversation of young engineering graduates who had successfully broken the sac and emerged. Sure enough, the visa was in their kitty. They re-assured us that our son too would make it and the interviewers were professionally friendly.
Our hopes pinned on their encouraging words, we waited for an unlikely eternity, till we saw a faint outline of what appeared like our son. Waving to us and sticking out an upward thumb (or so it looked to us), he emerged from the womb. Triumphant at having fought his way out of the amniotic sea of obstacles, the baby had won the battle. The birth of a new beginning, a new life in a new land no longer a distant possibility.
We breathed. The visa was in the kitty. Plans of the onward journey should be built. A new task on the anvil. And for the appointment? Well, the intimidating had turned out to be rather friendly and favourable. It was an appointment that did not disappoint.
The American dream had begun to roll.