Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sequel; Priyo Part II

Well, Ms JennyD resurfaced after some years of personal torment, which I sincerely hope is at an end for her, and her comment on my last post served to remind me that I hadn’t really said anything about how It All Turned Out.  Giving a nod to the public’s demand for sequels, (although in my case, the public demand has been just a tad on the minuscule side), I shall post a sequel of my own.

I left India on New Year’s day, having in one short trip managed to avoid Thanksgiving, Christmas AND New Year’s Eve - three pluses easily worth the $2000+ that the whole thing cost (a cost I more than recouped by living three months at Indian prices instead of those here at home).  I was looking forward to getting home, partly because I like my place here and partly because I really wanted to have a spate of time alone, just to evaluate my feelings about Priyo and my future.  

For the first month after my return, I had some ambivalent feelings about my home here and living with Priyo over there.  I really like my house for all the reasons I mentioned in my last post.  Priyo and I talked - usually twice a day - which I occasionally felt was just a bit more than I wanted to come to the phone.  It wasn’t that I didn’t care as much as I had before for Priyo nor second thoughts, so much as a kind of desire to be alone with my thoughts - or more exactly, not wanting to set aside blocs of time each morning and evening without fail for telephoning.  But then, after about a month, I became aware more and more of how empty my life here is.  There really isn’t any person or group here upon whom I can rely for chat beyond the mundane.  “How about them Yanks?” is not my idea of a fun conversation.  I do have people I can talk with - and even more so when I include those available by phone - but that certain feeling of coming first with someone, of them really wanting to hear what’s up with me, including trivia and moods is just not there (or here, I should say).  My Mom said, when my Dad died, that she had lost the person she came first with.  more and more I understand exactly what she meant.  It is a special loneliness that crowds cannot take away.

I amused myself by doing some home clean-up and getting rid of accumulations (but, oh, how much is left!)  I bought a new dishwasher which really made me feel good.  I scheduled some care for my spruce trees which are badly infected with a fungal disease and am also having someone restore my gutters which are no longer doing their job.  But I am intensely aware of being here alone and of wasting hours on TV shows and reading things that just barely manage to hold my attention for a short while.  But every day I miss Priyo more.  Incredible as it seems, he centers everything he does around me being in his life.  I am beginning to return the favor.  I can’t wait to see him again, which, alas, will not happen until roughly October as current plans stand.  

As I said before, Priyo was scheduled to enter the police academy in January.  So, within a week of my leaving, he shipped his goods, including his motorcycle, to his home in Manipur.  He had had a tailor make most of the clothes he was required to bring to the academy, and had purchased the rest.  He was anxious to begin his training for which he would be receiving a salary much greater than his prior earnings.  Alas, the best laid plans…

I have often thought that the USA was as corrupt as any country, its lawmakers and public officials for sale to the highest bidder and so forth.  While I still think the corruption here is rampant, I now have a new appreciation for what corruption in other lands can be like.  Here corruption touches us indirectly - sweetheart deals enrich some and drive up taxes or costs and so on.  But in India, corruption has an immediate and visible and direct impact on everyone.  One pays for anything one needs to accomplish.  Sometimes one has to bribe police to merely proceed beyond a traffic blockade out in the boonies.  Priyo’s Dad had already paid a couple of hundred thousand to get Priyo to the point of being considered for the police program.  But the greedy politicians had done two things that threw a monkey wrench into the plans to begin this particular academy class.  The first was that several candidates were appointed who did not even bother with the pretense of qualifying physically and mentally.  Blind and handicapped candidates were accepted and allowed to forego interviews and physical tests - these were people who could not in any way fulfill the duties of policemen.  So egregious was this practice that even the Indian media felt it worthy of publishing, resulting in a halt being called to the actual beginning of the class.  Many candidates were married and many had left jobs on the strength of getting their letters detailing what to bring to the academy (as had Priyo) and these were left without means to support themselves and their families.  And, since bribery is illegal, they had no recourse for getting back what they had been forced to pay.  Secondly, even without the corrupt qualifying candidates, the greedy powers that be had over-enrolled the class.  There is a district of India called the Northeast States which consist of eight small states which in some areas, including police training, work together as a single unit.  There is one academy for all the states and this class had enrolled so many Manipuris that there was insufficient space left for the other states’ candidates.  So even if the unqualified candidates were removed, the rest - all of whom paid big bribes to be enrolled, but who at least met the requirements to be policemen - could not be accommodated by the academy.  

Priyo, being a person who is intensely practical, soon saw that the police job was nothing to bet his future on, and set about finding alternative means to support himself.  He first found a job doing what he had before done in Panchkula - medical transcription.  He is good at this, after six years of doing it, so his former employer kept offering him inducements to return to Panchkula.  Eventually they offered quite a raise and agreed he could work remotely from Manipur.  Priyo got a sufficient internet connection and began doing this remote work.  Additionally he found another employer for whom he could work mornings before he received his daily files from the Panchkula.  He is also looking into an opportunity where he can purchase unfinished brooms formed from shrubs found in Manipur and resell them to a merchant in another state at 100% profit.  But even without this he now makes more than he did in Panchkula, which is a much higher-paying area for employment.  

I plan to return to India - this time to Manipur - in the autumn, and to stay for four to five months.  The six-month wait before me seems to loom before me longer and emptier by the day.  I have come to the realization that the possessions I have accumulated over a lifetime are merely a heap of things unwanted by others, which will be dispersed or discarded when my time comes.  The one thing I can’t give up yet is my house and land which is just as I want it and is where I want it.  Since his police disappointment, Priyo is much more amenable to emigration, but even so, the amount of difficulty in doing so will cause this to be years away even if it can be done at all.  I am ever more aware that life is short.  When I think how close I am to 80, I feel almost panicky.  Should I waste a minute hemming and hawing before I decide to move to where Priyo is?  Apart from my reluctance so far to give up my house, there is one other issue.  Medical care is free to citizens in India, but I would be a non-citizen.  Although medical care is vastly cheaper there, I would be required to pay the full amount for any doctor visit or medicine.  With Medicare, my out-of-pocket annual cost still runs to about $5,000 a year - with my pharmacy costs I gallop through the so-called ‘doughnut hole’ in two months time.  My most expensive medicine (of three), without which I would be headed for Pine Hill in no time, costs about $3000 per month here in the USA.  Even at half, or a quarter of the price, I would be pretty skint if I had to pay the whole cost.  

I am hoping that after my next visit to Priyo, I will feel connected enough to him and loosened enough from my situation here to make it clear what course to pursue.  Meanwhile the calls, which I found in January to be a bit excessive, have become the best parts of my day.  We really can talk about anything.  I badly miss Priyo, who in every way exceeds my hopes for someone to love, and who cares for me more than I can understand.  I always thought a perfect relationship was one where each thinks he or she was the lucky one who got way more than he deserved.  I seem to have this.  Now I just have to grab it.

When I was that young man who was standing by the roadside and suddenly decided to hitchhike to Californian or even when I was that middle-aged man who saw a notice for a job in Saudi and walked straight to HR and said, “Take me!” there seemed to be so much time to resolve any negative consequences.  But I know if I give up this house, there will never be another, and there is something so satisfying to me about saying, “This is mine; I can do as I please here.”  I don’t want to end up cussing myself for giving it up.  That Priyo and I might not last forms no part of my concern; all relationships of this nature require a trust and a leap of faith which I have already made.  I want one more bit of prodding to give up this house and all that is in it; or I want to be sure that I want to remain here and to work to bring Priyo here, despite the years of effort that might take.  I also have some concern about following my Mom’s path into Alzheimer’s - she is the sixth of her sisters to develop it, so it is clearly in the genes.  It might be nightmarish to be in a land I didn’t recognize with nowhere to return to.  But mostly it is a feeling thing that I can’t quantify in a list of pros and cons.  I want to have an irresistible desire to choose one course which makes me lose all concern for the negatives.  I am almost there, I think.  

What a lucky, lucky choice to have.  I have a genius for complaining about everything, but really this is a dilemma well worth having.


  1. Wow. Kid-like word to use, but that's what it is, David, a WOW. First let me tell you that I am SO glad to see you that I can hardly breath, and your supremely kind words about me and my silly vid actually made my day. Seems that around 62 or so, my women friends and I all said that we'd now become invisible and it's so true. Years have gone by and people actually bump into me in a store and don't even realize it or say excuse me. But people in my own age group always see and recognize each other, thank God, so all is not completely lost. Oh darn it, I'm rambling again. What IS it about your page that makes me do that? Apologies.
    This will be in parts: got an error for word count. I'll label as I go.....

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Part 1:

    Back to you, where it should be. You hit it on the head when you said "things" around, that it's only "things" and they mean nothing to anyone else. Same here. I have all this stuff that I am so attached to and about once a week as I lovingly gaze at a clock or a corner cupboard that my dad made, I realize that when I take my last breaths, no one else will give a damn about any of it. The cherished letters, the notes, the little thingies that make life so dear.... I don't know what to say. I can't seem to give up my house, either. Even to move to a condo, a really nice condo, and have all that outside stuff taken care of, and have super modern conveniences, and someone to clear the snow when it's there....I don't know. My home is my home and you know exactly what I mean.
    After reading and rereading this post, I think the answer is clear. Get him HERE. It pays off all the way around and he will have no problems getting employment in his medical transcription field. I know what you said about the years of paperwork for his emigration, but couldn't he come, stay 6 months, go back, stay a couple of months in India with his family, then come back again over and over? I have friends that do this with Canada/USA and have been for the last 7 yrs. Just wondering....and hoping for you. After all, even though the paperwork for full anything for him would take so long, those years will pass anyway, so grab 'em. Get him here. Seems to me he's not after you for financial gain, so loosen up the purse strings and help him. You'd know in short order if something was "off" because you're a smart cookie. Time's marching on, do it.

  4. Part 2:
    It amazes me every single day how from one Friday to the next seems to be 2 days max. I sometimes wonder where I was during the middle days! How can this be? When we were young, the summers were long and wonderful, and those 2 week Christmas breaks in school felt like a month and fabulous, and we couldn't wait to get older, to go to a bar, to vote, to have our own things in our own names. Now look at us. We blink and the year goes by. I don't find it depressing so to speak, well sometimes maybe, but mostly startling, like when you wake up from a dream and can't figure out where you are. It's like that. And yes, you talk about no one to really, really talk to; the person that wants to know, the person that knows you to your soul. Oh, what I wouldn't give for that. I can hardly remember what it was like although I drop in on an 85 yr old man down the street regularly to check on him, do his shopping, have a good long happy hour sometimes, and talk for ages, and that's a help. I'd set him up with my mother 6 yrs prior to her death and they fell completely in love. IT was so wonderful. I remember his 30th birthday like it was yesterday, 55 yrs ago. I was very close to his wife (a sororiety sister, haha) and babysat for his kids from the time they were born. There wasn't much difference in his wife's age from mine, 10 yrs. And so I have him (Bob) to talk those deep talks, but still, it would have been so nice to have a partner that was like that. Get him, David; don't let time keep marching. You will have a cheering section with me, and that's the truth. Some years back I told you that it was like you lived next door, and I still feel that way. Ok, I know that's strange but it's the way it is, so there. It's similar to if I'd had a brother and had chosen you to be it. Or the cousin that's like a brother, oh shoot, you know what I mean and I don't need to be typing anymore. God save your page from me!

    As for the publish button, I have the same problems and even worse, can't get the follow button to work, either. Now I write, copy it in case it doesn't post, and then paste it again. What a mess.

    Come on, when you talk to him today, make plans, good plans, to get him here. Tick tick tick.

  5. Except for the ending.....sheesh:
    PS/ I don't preview and correct, so muddle through

  6. @JennyD - You are truly back! SIX comments! 1) I notice the invisible thing, too. Even among nieces and nephews sometimes. No one is rude; they wait until I am finished speaking and then go back to what is really interesting to them (not me, that's for sure) without missing a beat.
    2) I think you are right. I should bring him here. A high school friend just wrote - he was present at the culmination (wedding, not consummation!) of an international romance much like mine which took years to reach the point of being together (in Illinois). I have NO concern about Priyo being out for gain. It is so against every shred of what has gone down thus far.
    3) As to the things of yours no one will want; keep anything that gives YOU a moment of joy or remembrance; I am finding I am keeping things I never unpack or which I keep because someone gave them to me, but I don't remember who. Not really a sentimental keepsake.
    4) Bringing Priyo here for a visit is really hard. he has to have a big bank account with the ability to account for the deposits (No sudden gift from me!) I could pay his ticket - no sweat - it is as cheap to bring him this way as for me to go that way. The visa folks are VERY tough, though. I have to get on it. You are right - living without such an amazing gift in my life is foolish.

  7. Haha, you are always so spot on. See why I get along with you so well?
    You made me think about my 'invisible' thing and so I've done a blog on it now. Will probably be the last blog for a bit.....only because of the surgery on Wed and then recoup.
    Talk to you later! And David, pleaseee don't stop writing. I think you are Maaaveloussss, Daalinggg.

  8. Waiting for Priyo Part III

    (If you ever want to get into my blog again- you have to email me at I had to go private because of some ex stalking! Not that my blog is very exciting anymore!!!!

  9. Ok, David, look at the date! For heaven's sake! I'm waiting on Part III as well. If I didn't have this page bookmarked, I'd never find you anymore. Come on, pick up that hiney and write! ......besides, I really miss you!

  10. Come on, come on! Now it's Sept 8, 2015, and I have no idea at all what's become of you and Priyo, and your house, or are you going to India.....come on! David, for whatever reason a few years ago, I had/have this great connection with you and I want to keep it going. You just HAVE to write. Don't leave your blog like l left mine. I'm still going to keep ck'ing back here. Oh, and by the way, since last I left a note, my own heart has been completely shattered; maybe murdered would be a better word. I have been hibernating for some months now and wonder if the darkness is ever, ever going to lift. This kind of obliteration is a first for me and you can bet the last.

  11. I am very sorry to hear of your heartbreak - doesn't it just take your breath and everything else away? This has not happened to me in many years, but I remember the sheer punch in the gutness of it.
    I have as you asked, posted again, but it is odd how much less inspiring (for writing) happiness is than the sheer desire to bitch.
    Even though P and I spend more time apart than together (so far), just the fact that he is out there as loving and faithful as I can wish makes the days here immensely better.
    I am not certain, of course, what heartbreak has befallen you, but it concerns me that you say it will be the last. If it was an affair of the heart, I hope you do not mean to be open to another such. Proceed wisely, but do proceed to care about someone again. Had a certain blow in the past made me cautious, I would never have met Priyo. Amidst the blackness, take consolation that it is in you to care so much. Some people cannot, and I do not envy them.

  12. I meant "hope you do not mean to be closed to another". I phrased my thought two different ways in my head and made a mash up that said the opposite of what I meant!

  13. Oh my gosh! You wrote! Ok, I'll reply on that post, Sept 2015 I think it is. Go to that one. I am SO glad to see you!

  14. Oh crap, I got so excited that I didn't realize I was already on that page. Give me a min to read and then I'll finish this.....geez

  15. Well, now I'm ready to hang myself because I'm still on the wrong page. Look around. It'll be on the last post you made. (I'm weaving my own noose now)