Mom, life is hard, it’s not as easy as I thought in America

329 पटक पढिएको

प्रकाशित मिति: २९ आश्विन २०७३, शनिबार १७:२०

सम्पादक: Dhading News



Sangram Lama

Dear mom,

Today, I am having this intense yearning to hold your hands and lie down my heavy head on your lap. I want my headache to melt under the warmth of your lap. I know it is quite strange but I want to feel the sensation that I always felt when you would run your slender fingers across my scalp, parting my hair, looking for lice. I miss that pinch on my head when you would squeeze the louse that you found between your thumb nails. I always feared that your nails might pierce my scalp. Aiyaa! I would scream and run away from you. I was so messy back then, right mom? I would seldom bathe. But the water was ice cold even in the summer and literally ice in the winter, wasn’t it? We didn’t have enough drinking water, let alone the privilege of hot water supply for shower. You see, that’s why I always hated to bathe. I don’t know if you ever understood my reluctance back then.
Memories are strange mom. They stay with you forever. I feel they continue to live even after our death. Are memories a separate live organism then? If it were alive, it would have died as well. Yes, most of the memories do die in a matter of few fleeting moments. There are, however, some that never die. This may be because they are meaningful and hopeful and are inveterate part of who we really are. I don’t know. They surface in your consciousness time and again. I have so many such precious memories with you. When I think about them, I get goose bumps all over my body. Mom, we have come so far in our lives that all those memories often seem very distant as if it never really happened.

Mom, when I think about my school days, I remember nothing much but one incident. Do you remember how I would always nag you to bring some fancy dish for my lunch? How I always complained you about eating cold and stale rice every day. I was indeed fed up of eating dry, stale rice with a lump of red chilly paste and butter day in and out.  I envied my classmates whose parents would always bring different dishes for them. Some days, they would bring dumplings, other days, noodles and so on. Do you remember that day when you actually came, huffing and puffing, with a small hot-case full of noodle soup for my lunch? You came really late that day. When you reached there, I had actually five minutes left of my lunch break. So I had to finish eating noodle soup as soon as possible. I was both happy and sad at the same time. I was happy because you brought my favorite dish and was sad because you brought it late. I was wondering how to eat the hot noodle soup in five minutes. Do you remember how I burnt my mouth while I tried to slurp the hot soup all at once? I smile to myself whenever I think about it.

Mom, I, however, never asked you how you managed to buy that noodle. Pardon me mom! I was so stubborn back then. I nagged you so much. I gave you so much trouble. I don’t think I ever told you this. By the way, your soup was really good. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Something, however, was missing in it. I guess, it needed little more seasoning. I am a cook now, so I know some stuff about cooking. It took me so long to realize why it lacked seasoning though. Mom, I guess, it was because we didn’t have enough salt back then. You had to make every single household supplies last for as long as it could. Mom, I never understood that we were poor back then. I didn’t catch on the fact that we were not in the state to fulfill all our demands no matter how badly we needed. I always thought you were being stingy unlike my friends’ mothers. I always thought you were being mean to me. I was too naive to understand the hardships you had to go through. I never understood the sacrifices you made for me. Without your sacrifices and hard work, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Thanks mom. Thank you so much.

Mom, to be honest, I have never felt this way ever before. Today, however, I am missing each and every moment we shared together deeply. Oh, how fortunate I am to have a mother like you!

Mom, I have sad news, though. Yesterday, my roommate’s mother died in Nepal. Unfortunately, he is not in the state to go home for the funeral. If he went home, he won’t be able to come back again. You know, he doesn’t have a green card. He is living here in New York illegally. He is the only source of income for his family. And he is pretty certain that he won’t find any job back home. Even if he found, it won’t amount much and he would earn far less than he earns here doing odd jobs. So he doesn’t want to take the risk, putting his entire family at stake. He cried the entire day yesterday on my shoulder expressing his regrets and dilemmas. He cursed himself the entire day for being such a loser. He lamented about his helplessness.

More than not being able to go for his mother’s funeral, he regrets about not doing anything much for his mother while she was still alive. He said that he thought he was sad all his life. But he realized that he was under the illusion so far. He had never been sad like he was now. He said that the saddest feeling for anyone in the world was indeed to eventually grow the desire to take care of his parents only to realize that they are no more. He said he had never missed his mother as he was missing now. Mom, I felt really sad for him. I felt really bad to see him falling apart. It really hurts to see someone, who actually helped you to collect yourself when you were falling apart.

Mom, I could put myself in his shoes. I could feel his feelings as thickly as he did. I was totally scourged by the news. But I told myself that I have to be strong and sit by his side instead of getting overwhelmed by the event, I should be wise and offer him my deepest consolation. Yes, he needed my genuine presence, not any pretense.

And then I realized something that I never ever thought was important. I realized how uncaring and irresponsible I have been so far as a son.  How I seldom gave you any time on the pretext of working hard and being busy in this foreign land. How I often ignored to share even few moments with you on phone. How reluctant I have been to share my life experiences with you while you desperately waited for my answer. Oh! I must have broken your heart so many times. I must have made you feel lonely so many times. I could never really understand your love and care. Ignorantly, I mistook your concern for trespass. I felt I needed privacy. But how come I forgot that we are one. How can I seek privacy from myself? Mom, I am really sorry. I am really sorry.

Mom, today, I am going to write everything here in this letter about my experiences so far in America. I don’t want to hide anything. I don’t want to pretend for the sake of making you feel good. I know you want to know the truth. I know you want to know what happened all those months when I was out of contact with everyone. I am going to answer all the questions you have been asking me. Please bear with me, mom.

I know mom, it’s already been more than five years since I left home. And unfortunately, nothing much has happened. I have been unable to make any differences in your life. I know there are people who build big bungalow back in the home right after they step America. They work hard, they save enough money and they do make big changes. Unfortunately, for the last five years, I couldn’t be one of them. I know how the people of our society view us. “Your son is in America,” everyone says. “You must have a lot of money.”  And I know you have to act the way rich people act. But it feels so sad to realize that I haven’t sent you even a penny so far. Mom, I wasted all those years. I wasted all those times.

Mom, so many expectations I had about so many things. Often when the things aren’t up to the mark, a downpour of despair drenches me completely. That is actually what happened to me right after I stepped on this land of dream. I was utterly disappointed. Things weren’t as I had expected.

Right after two days of my arrival, I was sent to work as a server in the Vietnamese restaurant by an employment agent. But when I reached there, I was asked to do the dishes instead. It broke my heart.

I remember, as a child, whenever I shared my dream to go to a foreign land to work to you, you would say, “Study hard and work here in your own country. The king of one’s own country becomes a slave in others’ country.  You have to wash dishes in a foreign land. You think it is that easy?” And as an answer, I would reply innocently, “You don’t have to wash dishes in a foreign country like we do here, they have a big washing machine there. All one needs to do is just press the button, that’s it.”  Life is hard. Life, as you said, isn’t as easy as pushing button.


I had a hope though. I thought everything would be fine after I get my green card. But unfortunately, my asylum application for the green card was rejected right away. It was at that moment that I couldn’t move on. I was completely fed up of working in the restaurant as a dishwasher. Mom that was the only job I could get at that time. Since I had neither any other work experiences nor working permit. And this time my disappointment was to a fault. It was further intensified by the work pressure and the intense feeling of alienation, isolation, loneliness and homesickness all at once. I just felt everything so acutely that I found myself falling apart. Mom, I had never felt so lonely ever before. I am afraid of silence. I had never been so miserable in my entire life. I am afraid of suffering. I missed my friends and family so much.

It was at that moment of crisis, I found drugs as my only savior. I did all sorts of drug. It made me feel good. It made me feel free from all those mental troubles. I spent all my money on drugs. Mom, I am so ashamed to tell you all these things. But I can’t hide anything now. I won’t find peace until I share all my stories with you. After indulging myself in drug for a while, I lost track of almost everything. I was literally sleepwalking. I stopped going to work, I stopped going out of my room. One day, my landlord kicked me out of the house since I stopped paying rent. Later I found myself in the streets of New York among other homeless. I slept countless nights on the park benches. I went hungry for countless days. I was given countless trouble on the streets by other homeless. Mom, I could think of nothing else at that moment. I was literally numb. I was a living corpse.

I lost everything. I lost all the contacts. You must have called me so many times. But I was in the street wandering aimlessly. One day, after so many months, an old friend of mine recognized me and took me to his room and helped me to recover. He is my savior, Mom. He took me to hospital and rehab centers. He saved me, mom. He gave me a new life. I have been living with him so far. He is my roommate. He is the one who lost his mother. Oh, I feel so bad for him!

But the good news is I am recovering now. I have started working again. After all those ups and downs, I have found the purpose of my life again. I have become more responsible now than ever before. I take care of myself better now. I feel I am given a second chance to live, so I don’t want to take life for granted ever again. I am back to normal life. I think I needed that dark phase in my life to make me realize what is important and what is not.

Finally, I have saved some money for you, mom. And with that money, I want to buy a golden necklace for you. From now onwards, I have only one wish. And my wish is to fulfill all your wishes that you had to suppress within your heart for various reasons.

Few more years, and I will be home. I want to spend as much moment as possible with you. I want to sit by your side as long as I can. I want to take good care of you. I don’t want you to feel lonely ever again. And yes, I want to cook noodle for you, with perfect seasoning. And no, I don’t want to experience the situation my friend is going through now.

Last night, I was reading a book of poems by Khalil Gibran and I came across this paragraph and I really loved it.

“Mother is everything in this life; she is consolation in the time of sorrowing and hope in the time of grieving and power in the moments of weakness. She is the fountainhead of compassion, forbearance, and forgiveness. He who loses his mother loses a bosom upon which he can rest his head, the hand that blesses, and the eyes which watch over him.”

Mother, you are everything in my life.

Forgive me for all my mistakes.

Your dear son,


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धादिङ जिल्लाको पहिलो अनलाइन खबर पत्रिका धादिङ न्यूज डट कम बिक्रम सम्वत २०७० साल जेठ २ गते तदनुसार सन २०१३ मे १६ देखि सञ्चालनमा आएको हो ।

२९ आश्विन २०७३, शनिबार १७:२० मा प्रकाशित



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