The other day, I was having lunch with a friend “P”. P moved the Germany a bit before I did and later joined our company. We are both from the same home state. His parents and family continue to live there. He visits them at least once a year but lately it has been around 3-4 times.
P is very active in all the social clubs that people from Kerala have formed here. With more than 5000 Malayalees (I am sure this does not include the count of people like me), most who came here in 70s / 80s to work or nurses or doctors, P manages to find enough to keep himself busy and get himself a strong network.
We were having lunch in the cafeteria the other day when he asked “does it take long to get a green card in US?”
My parents live in the US and have just got their green card after years of waiting.
I told him that it took long for my parents but my sister got it much faster. Was he considering moving there?
“No, I was wondering because of a friend”.
“How long has he been there?”
“Around 10 years – he said he cannot leave the country because he has applied for green card and it has not yet come.”
Ah! This is a realm I am used to.
“He can get a permit called ‘parole’, if he wants to leave the country”.
“oh! Are you sure? He has not seen his parents since he left for US. When I was in India, they asked me to check on him. W were very good friends. His parents see me visiting all the time and are wondering whether he does not feel like visiting them.”
“Well, parole is very expensive for an individual to apply and secondly, it is complicated when you want to re-enter the country. So perhaps that is the reason – or maybe he does not know about the parole. Perhaps his parents can visit.”
“His wife’s parents have visited them twice but he has not yet asked his parents.”
We debated for sometime about what “P” can do And left without a resolution. So when I saw this advertisement, I was taken back to the parents of this married boy ‘s parents who have not seen him for 10 years.
I cannot imagine even 1 year passing without a visit to my parents. For P, it was even more inconceivable. Let us hope someone shows him the reason.