Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Emotional Departures


Dropping a loved one to the airport is gut wrenching, especially when you know that you aren't gonna see them for at least a few months. My gut still feels fresh from being wrenched - I dropped my mom off last afternoon, and I did my best to ensure that her check-in process was as smooth as can be. I convinced both the ticket counter folks and the Security Check officer that I was the holder of an Elite Skypass, which meant she hardly stood in any lines. As she waved to me from the other side of the security screen, I panicked - I had forgotten to tell her to take good care of her passport (this isn't her first time traveling but I was just being paranoid). After trying to locate her through the glass walls outside the Security area, I finally walked up to the Korean Air ticketing counter and wrote her a note. The note read, "Asha Mehta, Seat #XXX, call Manoj Mehta". The conversation we had was very similar to the one we had when she first landed on American shores. Actually, the tenor of our conversation was the same all day long, and it made the separation that much harder...

Before she could leave, there was one order of business that needed to be taken care of - a trip to Kent. This was my first time in Kent, and I saw firsthand how much of a ghetto that place is. The area where the Indian strip is, how do I put it, decrepit, and I wondered, is this the kind of life these people left India for? I live near the International District, and Kent reminded me of a more rural version of that district. As I looked around I wondered when, if ever, would immigrants living in such concentrated neighborhoods among their own people assimilate into American society?

My mom's bags were 9 kilos overweight, and my dad had to resort to threatening her or else she'd have to face the music, from me. Am I really that intimidating? Over the course of the last two months, it has dawned on me that I am somewhat of a control freak. It's important to want things a certain way, but all good things done in excess become bad. The key for me is to find balance, and I've added this to my list of proposed changes in my life. New job, new house, new Manoj?

Here's an update on my new job. The work doesn't involve much coding, and it's not a management position; there are times when the ambiguity of my role perplexes me. I should have realized this when I saw that the infrastructure is hosted on Linux - there is very little development work done on Linux by most software companies. I don't feel like I am building a product; I feel like I am supporting one, which will take some adjusting to on my part. The jury isn't out yet, so let's see how this cookie crumbles.

I got home last evening to a pleasant surprise - my dad had spent the afternoon cleaning the place up, and had even found time to cook some dinner. Simple meal it was - lentils, a slice of bread, a cup of coffee, chipotle mayo, and a delicious potato sabzi. The two of us ate, talked about our days, about how we were missing mom already, about the nature of relationships between various family members, before it was time to corral squash gear from all over the house. My squash match didn't go well, but I got a good workout, for which I am thankful. I need to write about how great the Pro Club is, but that's for another time.

Another day has begun, and though I haven't got as much sleep as I would like, I'm going to make the most of it. Sitting in a conference room overlooking the Puget Sound isn't such a bad way to spend a working day now, is it?

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