The last few days of my stay in the US was very emotional. I was happy about returning back to India but I was also sad. I had developed a special bond with Colorado Springs and formed new friendships here. It was not easy to part from them all. I took time to meet everyone personally and say a proper good bye to them.
My Manager took our entire team out for lunch at a Mexican restaurant. Later that evening, he told me that I had done great and he would surely miss me. He indeed is a role model for me as a manager and I look up to him for inspiration.
I met all my Indian colleagues and thanked them for their support. Nagendra sure had been one of my best friends in the city and I would definitely miss him. During the last few days of my stay, he had begun to share some of his deepest secrets. Some of them, he had never shared with anyone. Despite some of it being against my own values and ethics at that time, I seemed to accept him as he was. I invited him for dinner at Mirch Masala and bid farewell to my dear friend.
One of my colleagues, Fred arranged for a send off lunch for me. Some other colleagues joined. It was hard to say good bye to Peggy. I had dinner with Mike and her. Jonah and I joked that she was our American Mother but truly, she had been no less than a mother for us. She had taken care of me since the day I had first stepped on the American soil. I would always remain touched by her kindness and generosity. Her husband Mike and their tenant Brett have been great friends to me. Brett gifted me a collection of Alfred Hitchcock movies.
On 29th of July, my friends treated me with a dinner and gifted me a pen set. It was very nice of them to do so. I felt extremely emotional but hid the sentiments behind a nervous smile. I would miss all of them. Specially, Seb and Jonah. However, I knew that they are going to return soon and we would meet again in India. Early next morning (30-Jul-2005) I left Colorado springs and flew to Minneapolis and then to Amsterdam and then to Mumbai. That year, my birthday (31-Jul) was spent flying from the west to the east.
I am haunted by words and memories. That made it hard to bid farewell to this lovely city; this incredible country. I knew I would miss my walks in the cotton wood creek park and around the apartment complex; my long conversations with Nagendra; the view of the pikes peak; the donut shop that Dennis, my Driving instructor got me hooked to; Albertsons, the grocery store where I often shopped and many other small things that had made up this entire year. But life has to go on and I knew that a new life awaited me in Bangalore.
I had come to the US as a timid and silent boy but this country has turned me into someone more confident and soulful. Thanks to this country, I began enjoying traveling and driving. I observe a drastic change in my personality. While I return, I know that I shall go back as a much more lively and confident person than what I was when I left India.
America allows one to be oneself and not a single person interferes in your life. As I return, I take back with me, the gift of individualism that this country has given me. It is time to explore what I can do with this gift.