Wednesday, May 27, 2015


The other day, I started crying over a tiny, tiny thing. It took everybody by surprise, most of all me, because I realized I am stressed without really realizing it.

This has been building up, subliminally. When I first got the email from the USCIS  scheduling  my green card interview, I saw it at like 3 am and had insomnia for the rest of the night.  My comfortable and yet uncomfortable world was going to shift.

I have to say, there is nothing as frightening as an amorphous concept. Moving to a different country. Managing alone with a toddler who, according to my mother, leaves every child she has EVER seen, including her very active sons, in the dust with respect to the energy and activity levels. Plus, she is an absolute daredevil with tons of determination,  unfortunately no fear, and only a small measure of caution. For better or worse, her mama has plenty. Of each quality.

I think what makes it especially bad for me is my biggest decision: EVERYBODY is telling me to leave Gauri here, atleast for a month or so while I move back and figure out where I will be and settle down. This decision, atleast makes sense from a practical standpoint. I may have to interview in different parts of the country, for one thing. If I am hopping on a plane and staying in hotel rooms, it makes sense that Gauri stays settled in familiar surroundings during the process.

But what makes it worse is my family trying to persuade me to leave her in India long term, with them bringing her to see me, and me flying back frequently, for a year or so. Lots of people have done it, they say. This is true, we know a few. You will not be able to watch her as closely as we do here: this is also true: In India, she has an army to watch her and keep her out of trouble without burning out in the process: A great grandma and grandma and grandpa and an uncle and aunt and maids who are nuts about her, not to mention a mama who supervises the whole deal.  You replace that with one mother and one nanny/au pair, and you have to ask....but how will that work? Yet, it will, I know. You just need a system. But when you sit halfway across the world trying to envision that system, it becomes hard.

But she needs me. And god knows, I need her. My mom has told me to set the me-needing-her bit aside in my decision making process. I cannot. Right now, a month's separation is all I will agree to, but the chipping away continues. And even the thought of being away from her for a month is heart rending. And equally heart rending is the thought of taking her away from all these people who care about her: they need her too.

Yet, I HAVE to get out of India. This country is not for me. Having lived here 3 years now almost, this, what I knew at 22 when I first left, has been soundly reiterated. But when is the right time to make the transition?

Not to mention the job stress drama. Yes, networking really matters. More about job searching later. currently trying to pin down recruiters in various companies. Like slippery eels, they are. Anybody know any fabulous head hunters who recruit for life science-related positions who I can entrust my resume to for a fee, let me know. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015


I am poised at the edge of a huge transition, one that I have been awaiting for a long time now: my return to the US. I probably would be able to pack my bags and jump on a plane mid-June (not that I will), and that thought, not surprisingly, is scaring the bejeezus out of me.

Gauri is not ready to leave India yet. This place has been so wonderful for her. Yet, leave it we must, well before her second birthday, probably.

I have a monster job search to manage. After the scarcity of opportunities in India, the US appears a veritable smorgasbord. But it is not easy. There are recruiters on LinkedIn to be plagued, random strangers to be called, professors to be emailed, nails to be bitten to the quick. If anybody has need of an immunologist with superior scientific communication skills, holler.

Gauri also is in transition. Over a month ago, she was a little baby hulk: Gauri see, Gauri smash. Now, her nurturing side seems to be emerging. Little bears get picked up, get patted rather forcefully, are nestled into the crook of her neck and walked around till they fall asleep. She suddenly loves cuddling with me at night before she goes to bed. Out of the blue, she went from hating Chika Chika Boom Boom (a book about the alphabets climbing up a coconut tree, and falling down) to demanding that I read it to her 6 times a day, sometimes in succession. Her playfulness (which was always present, right from the start) is really blossoming: her favorite game is acting like she wants to feed us while she is sitting at her highchair; the moment we present ourselves, mouths open, she plops the food in her own mouth and grins gleefully. Toddler hood is also making its presence felt in less charming ways as well: this kid has an operatic voice, and cannot really communicate verbally yet, so resorts to pointing (with her whole body), and going UUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHH!

Wonder what is coming next, in every sector. With Gauri, every process is a joy (mostly). With the job search, and I am still rather enjoying it four days in. Ask me in a month.