“Yes, I miss my family, of course. But other things, it’s hard to say,”

Deepak was an older Indian gentleman with a thick shock of white hair and a snowy beard to match. He creeped along in his white Prius to the parking lot to pick us up from the Seattle Airport pickup area. It was freezing and after we had all gotten in, he turned on the heat full blast.

Deepak was from Mumbai, and recommended approximately 30 restaurants that were “the best” that we HAD to go, despite us only being in Seattle for four days. “You can eat multiple times a day!” he declared, winking.

“We’ll try,” I hedged.

“There’s nothing like food from home, though,” Deepak mused. “There’s just something different, even when you cook it yourself here.”

We chatted a bit, and then we passed a school, and Deepak smiled. “I’m 64, with 8 grandchildren,” he stated proudly. “Two of them were born here: Americans through and through! Great kids, very smart. I wish I had more time to spend with all of them, though, especially the ones back home!”

“Do you miss Mumbai?” I asked, while at a red traffic light.

He gave me a thoughtful look. “Yes, I miss my family, of course. But other things, it’s hard to say,” he finally said.

“Why did you move here?”

The light changed, but it took him a moment to get going. He finally said, “My son started working for Microsoft about fifteen years ago.”

“So you moved to be with him?”

“No. My wife and I visited him every year, but we didn’t want to move at first.”

I was curious. “What made you change your mind?”

He sighed.  “It was hard,” he said softly. “About ten years ago, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and was beginning treatment in Mumbai.”

“I’m so sorry!”

He shrugged. “Well, my son was convinced that American doctors and hospitals were the best, and that she would have the best chance in the US, so we moved, and she got all her treatments here. We had to pay out of pocket, all our savings, and with help from my children. It was hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

“How is she?”

He smiled, sadly. “She died.”

“Oh no!”

“Nothing worked. I love America., and I know how great the opportunity has been for my son and his family, and I’m very grateful. But nothing could have saved her, not even American medicine.”

About the artist

When not caring for their collection of houseplants, hauling hay for their farm animals or studying the mysteries of the stars and dreaming of how to reach them, MJ can be found digitally doodling or painting people’s pets and farm friends. And though their goal is to one day be researching the mechanics of the universe as their career, you can find a collection of MJ’s other work for sale in their Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/ArtsByMJ