Traveling to a New Land
Anusua Sinha came to U.S. in 1998 from Calcutta, India which is located in West Bengal to achieve success
essay written by Asmita Sinha
The journey to a foreign land allows a person to search for who they are and take a risk for either the better or the worse. Anusua Sinha, being an immigrant to America, traveled to a different world that transformed her life entirely. Growing up in a third world country, Anusua came to America to seek better fortune for herself and her family and to take a bold step to find her true potential as an individual.
A journey to a new country only dreamt about in movies or seen through a small screen on a television is one of the greatest accomplishments in a person’s life. Whether the person came to recreate their life or provide his or her family with a better future, the courage to leave loved ones behind and take a risk to reestablish oneself conveys the true valor of a person. Anusua Sinha, a native born Indian, traveled across the continent of Asia to reach the grand country, America. Hoping to fulfill her dreams, she traveled by plane with her two children across the great Pacific to a final landing at the LAX airport. As she landed, she saw the world of opportunities before her eyes and embraced all that she saw. Amazed at this new world, Sinha thought, “America was a new place with ...[multiple] opportunities and ...chances to prevail where in India there wasn’t [as many possibilities]. The chances we didn’t get in India, people were able to achieve here.”1
As she left the LAX airport, she reconnected with her husband, Arup Sinha. Coming from a completely different country with different societal expectations, Sinha seemed almost dumb-founded by all the cars that filled the streets and the tall buildings that surrounded her. Growing up in Calcutta, India, Sinha had a decent childhood in which “... [She] used to play, [and] go to different places and [enjoy] eating rice and fish and [going] ...to school. [She saw] festival gatherings and hung out with everyone.”2 Brought up in one of the largest Indian cities, Sinha was able to be at the center of all the beautiful festivals that occurred almost every other month during the year. Able to enjoy the festivities, Anusua “... stayed out all night and rented cars and [saw] ...the festival houses. [She saw] ...the neighborhood that had the most beautiful decorations and [watched as] the [people gave them] prizes and [were] placed first, second or third.”3 During festival times, Calcutta lit up with gorgeous lights that hung on buildings and trees. The entire city was out and alive as the citizens wandered the streets while enjoying the endless festivities. Sinha went out with all of her friends and saw all the decorations that surrounded every building in sight and every street in view.
As a child, Sinha grew up her entire life in Calcutta, India with her two sisters and one older brother. Growing up in the 1960s, Calcutta had limited technology or cars. The majority of the city was mainly deserted and still under development both industrially and population wise. Most people in the town “...used to have only radios... [but] When TVs first arrived, only 5 houses had them in [the] neighborhood. There would be movies playing and the entire neighborhood would come to watch.”4 During her childhood, the bulk of the kids relied on toys and friends to entertain themselves since their only form of technological entertainment was a radio. Throughout her childhood, her neighborhood was deserted and secluded since “... no one really lived in [the] neighborhood. Only about 4 or 5 families lived there, but more families began to move in slowly.”5 As the country began to industrialize and advance economically, more families began to move in and technology became more common amongst the people. Throughout her childhood, Sinha “went to the movies; restaurants, and the library” and did typical teenage activities to pass the time such as “... [watch] light movies[and] people movies like family movies.”6
In India, Sinha was able to create great memories with her family and friends. As a child, Sinha “...used to [go to her uncle’s] house and there [used to be] this huge tree next to his house where mangos used to grow ... [during] the summer time.” 7 Family vacations was a vital time for Sinha’s family to spend time together. During her father’s days off “[they used to] go [on] vacations.... [they] rented a cottage next to this beach called Diga. [The] used to bathe in the ocean and there were pine trees everywhere and [they] used to swim almost every day with all our friends.”8 Life in India was very peaceful for Sinha since the country was mostly rural and villages. Although she did not have the same resources or opportunities, she was still able to enjoy life with good family and friends.
The journey to America allowed Sinha to see the other side of the world and learn how other people lived outside of her home country. In America, Sinha was able to “[give her children]...opportunities, but [she would love] going back to India because [she visits her] brothers and sisters and... family.”9 Despite being an immigrant to this country, Sinha found that “...[the customs] weren’t all that different. The people were pretty accepting and [she eventually] learned [her] way around the city.”10 Although Sinha did not speak English fluently, she was able to accommodate to the culture and learn how to adapt to the new country. Being oblivious to the western culture, the ideals and values of a foreign country wasn’t a challenge for Sinha and allowed her to expand her views of the world. Traveling to a new country by herself for the first time, Anusua was afraid of losing her way since, “...at first [she] was ...with only [her] children, [she] didn’t know what to expect at all, but it was a new adventure.”11 The journey to a foreign country allowed her to experience life in a different world and to expand her views on other nations. Remaining isolated in a third world country, Sinha perceived America as a land only in dreams rather than in reality, but by moving to America, she was able to make a dream into a reality. By seeing how both the poverty-stricken and the prosperous nations live, Sinha was able to, “[learn] more about the world and how different people live. [She saw] both how the wealthy countries and the poor countries live. By seeing all this, [she was able to grow] more grateful for what [she has] and learned to appreciate all the things [she was] able to achieve in America.”12
Being an immigrant in a new country, a person learns to appreciate his or her own culture and country. While being in America, Sinha has become more grateful for her own country and for the people she has left behind. Sinha was in love with her home country, she cherished “...the culture, the food, the people ...the festivals... the beautiful decorations during festival time and the happiness that [always went] around.”13 Through the experience in America, Sinha hopes to continue to live in California until her children are adults, but hopes to live the rest of her life in India. Living far away from her family, some of her relatives, such as her cousins and uncles, reside in America. During times of difficulties, Sinha’s relatives provided help if any situations required their aid.
In India, Sinha’s closest friend was a woman named Mathrobi. As childhood friends, the two women lived through everything together, whether it involved school or life changing decisions. When visiting India, Sinha always finds time to visit “...Mathrobi, someone [she is] still very close with. [They’ve] been friends since 7th grade, and... were together during college and after. After [Sinha] got married, [Matrobi] also got married soon after, now she has a daughter and [Sinha] also has children.”14 Leaving a life long friend was hard for Sinha, but by taking a risk, she was able to establish a decent life for herself and her family. On the journey to America, and having no experience on planes or how to deal with them, Sinha departed her home country in hopes of making it to the new world. Though she had no prior knowledge of traveling to other countries, Sinha was able to retain strength and didn’t allow her fear to stop her. With her two young children, she was able to conquer her fears and enter the new world of America.
Growing up in a city where there was little entertainment, Sinha and her siblings did well with what they had. Though there wasn’t much to do in India, Sinha and “...[her] siblings ...enjoyed [their] time together and liked being with [their] friends and did what [they] could with what [they] had.”15 Since her childhood, India has become more industrialized. More streets were built and cars became more abundant. Through new technological advances, the cities have become safer and “...Now there are bridges and flyovers which weren’t there before. The streets are beginning to be more cleared up, so there are fewer accidents. The freeways that are being built look very nice in our city and with the growing economy, more and more kids are able to go to school and the parents are able to retain jobs.”16 The new industrializing economy allows for the Indian citizens to enjoy the beauty of technology and recreate their towns into beautiful cities.
During Sinha’s childhood, one of the largest historical events was when Indira Gandhi- the first Indian women to become prime minister was killed. When Indira Gandhi was shot “...the entire country was in shock.”17 The impact of the death of one of the greatest political leaders tore the entire nation apart. People began to question their motives and values and reevaluate what the country stood for both politically and morally. Being at time of tragedy, India began to change its political structure almost entirely and as a result “...the government changed many times throughout [Sinha’s] life time, and there [were] many disagreements between political leaders. Due to the tragedy, the government pushed into reforms, and over time, changed about four times. [India] had new political leaders about every few years, and the majority of the time, the country was still trying to reestablish itself after independence.”18
Being an Indian in a foreign country, Sinha attempted to keep the Indian culture alive. In America, the celebrations are forced to be altered to accommodate the American traditions as well. Indian culture remains a vital part of Sinha’s life, but being in a different country the aura of celebration is completely different. In India the “... people [were] more culture oriented. The festivals [were] celebrated on the days they [were] supposed to be celebrated on. The people [focused] more on Indian things and [cared more] about the Indian culture.... In America, people... still keep the culture alive but it’s [mainly] in... small communities.”19 While moving to America, Sinha noticed how her children began to lose their Indian traditions. By taking them to festivals and gatherings, Sinha strives to retain the Indian culture and remind her children of whom they truly are. Realizing the impact of the Indian culture loses much of its importance in America, Sinha still celebrates the festivals regularly even if it clashes with her career and schedules. Retaining respect for her culture, Sinha reiterates the need for containing the culture of India and celebrating the heritage of her country.
As she grows older, Sinha misses India even more than when she first left her homeland. As a child, Sinha “...never thought that [she] was going to come to America, but since [she] did ... the transition from two completely different countries was a ...good achievement and ... was [definitely] worth it.”20 As a child, Sinha never imagined coming to the U.S. or even living here. Because she got the opportunity to expand her knowledge and take an adventure to a new country, she felt it was worth the risk. The journey to America was a risk that she was willing to take and in the end, all that she hoped to achieve, she gained and all that she obtained helped her grow as a human and as a parent.
As immigrants to a new country, the fears of the unknown instill the horrors of failure and disappointment into their minds. While the majority of immigrants come to America to seek better lives for their families, the fear of returning to their countries remains a dreadful fear to have to rid their children of the opportunities they have. Beginning to settles in, Sinha feared “...the country and when [her husband] first lost his job [she was scared of returning to India].”21 Sinha felt the impact of all her decisions and was determined to create a stable life for her family. Understanding the reality of her decisions, Sinha became aware of her new life and decided to take charge of her new life in America.
Throughout the last few decades, immigrants have slowly become a majority in the U.S. Forming better lives or hoping to escape problems in their home countries; immigrants reestablish themselves with their families and utilize the opportunities to become successful. To be able to leave everything behind and come to a bizarre country in which everyone is stranger requires courage and determination. Realizing the importance of opportunities, Sinha came to America to soar both career wise and educationally since “The chances [she] didn’t get in India people are able to [obtain] here. In India, people are suffering but [in America] people are happier and live nicely.”22 Knowing the difference between the two nations, Sinha realized the opportunity of change her life and form a new life of stability and security. While many countries lack basic education and suffer from poverty, America allows for an escape from the hardships and allows for everyone to retain hope.
Sinha, a woman who traveled to America in the hopes of achieving a better life, immigrated to the U.S. with her two children and husband. Hoping to allow her children to gain every opportunity in this new land, Sinha worked hard to create a stable life for her family and harder to give her children what she never had. As a young woman entering a world of industrialized cities and endless technology, Sinha adapted to the fluorescent cities and diverse people and now lives in Irvine with her family and hopes to return to India one day. Through her entire journey “[America] gave [Sinha] and [her husband] a new opportunity to see what’s out there and see what would happen.”23 America is renowned for its vast opportunities and remains a land where anything can happen and allows hope for those who desire to achieve their dreams. Sinha hopes to return to India one day to visit her family, but the journey to America remains one of her greatest achievements. She is grateful for the risk she took and the outcome of her decisions. The decisions to come to the United States “...was a life changing moment. It was an adventure [traveling] all the way across [the Pacific] to a different country that [Sinha] never had been to before. [She] had to do it all alone and... in the end, everything worked out well.”24 Though traveling to America was a risk for both Sinha and her husband, the chance for her children to have all of the possibilities they can was her main reason for continuing to reside in America. The life altering decision to enter a world of corporate businessmen and giant cars that fit over 6 people in them changed Sinha’s vision of America and opened her eyes to the western world. All in all, the journey to America impacted Sinha’s life and altered her views of the world entirely.
1. Sinha, Anusua. Personal Interview. 23 May, 2009 –24 May, 2009.
2. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 1.
3. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 1.
4. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 3.
5. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 3.
6. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 4.
7. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 2.
8. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 3.
9. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 6.
10. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 14.
11. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 14.
12. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 14.
13. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 14.
14. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 4.
15. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 6.
16. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 9.
17. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 9.
18. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 9.
19. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 10.
20. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 10.
21. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 7.
22. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 17.
23. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 11.
24. Sinha, 23 May, 2009-24 May, 2009. 14.