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Wings to Fly

March 9
by
Anushka K.C.
in
Overcoming Challenges
with
.

Had they told me

I need wings to fly

I would’ve believed

Can’t see a reason why

Thus I went on

Living for so long

Until one glimpse of dreams

Changed it all

Scared I was

To take the dive

But like bees

I left my beehive

Soon I was measuring the sky

To fly high and high

Now looking back

I smile

Had they told me

I need wings to fly

*Poem by Isha Negi


It is July the 23rd, 2016. Twenty-two hours have passed since I flew away from my country and landed on American soil. I am waiting for my luggage to show up in the baggage area. Red, blue, green, grey, orange, all the colors are making my head spin as the suitcases spin round and round waiting for their owners to pick them up.

“Oh!”, my body reacts before I can think clearly to check out a luggage which is not mine. “Nope, it’s not mine.” I look around wondering if people saw me making a mistake but no one really cares. I also learnt one another thing: I had always wondered why people selected bright-neon colored suitcases; this was the reason. To find it as quickly as possible and get your tired body out of the airport and into a bed.

There is a 25 year old lady standing beside me and she is panicking. “Oh no! Where’s my luggage! Help me carry it okay?”, she speaks in a shrilled voice. I automatically say “Okay, no problem” before I even stopped to think if I can do that. I wonder if I can carry my own. I had met her in my transit at Qatar. She was a Nepali like me but not a student. She had come with a Diversified Visa.

I recalled the many times I had applied for that and had never had the luck. It was ironic that I got to come to America in a student visa now.

Her constant fidgeting was getting on my nerves and making me panicky. My thoughts swam from “maybe they stole my luggage” to “maybe it got swapped somewhere”. The $6 trolley I was holding got in my way when I finally found my luggage. I was careful not to let it go though, suspicious that people might steal it. The $6 had already converted to 642 Nepali Rupees in my head. I was very cautious. I had forgotten that I had tied the numerous khatas to my luggage to recognize it from afar. It’s a tradition among us Nepalese to give this Tibetan-silk scarf to welcome or bid goodbye to someone.

After I had found one of my luggage, which was the red suitcase, I heavied it off the carousel. Another annoying thing happened then. The trolley kept rolling off when I tried to get it on it so I looked for the panicky woman who was standing looking for her luggage to help me. We heavied it onto the trolley together and I was grateful. Just as I found my second luggage, we found both of hers. And it was another awkward moment of me trying to get mine off and she trying to get hers off. I looked around and saw two big guys who seemed to be airport officials and asked them to help us. One of the guys helped me and the other helped her.

The second luggage, which was a huge green duffel bag which one of my cousins said I would likely be arrested for because it looked like it would carry military weapons, rested snuggly on the trolley looking innocent. I had only smuggled in some Nepali snacks that would be difficult to find in America in that bag.

I was going to walk towards the baggage check area when the woman stops me. “WHERE DO I GO NOW??!!” She had to get into another plane now which was in a completely different area of the airport. I asked around and one of the janitors explained that she had to take a train and get down in another place where her boarding place was supposed to be. I explained to her but she got more panicky thinking she’d get lost and what not. I was already moving away from her and told her just to ask around. I did not want to get in trouble either.

I suppose I should have been more patient with her but at that time, all I could think of was my friend hopefully waiting outside for me.

I meet a kind-faced security personnel at the checking area. She asks if I have any food in my luggage. I say I have food in my backpack but not in my luggage. It was my strategy of distracting her. Food in the backpack was okay she said. And I got out without any hassle. Plus, technically they were just snacks not meant to be of any nutritional value. Just as Cheetos is for Americans, Wai wai is for the Nepalese. I would surely not have faced any legal charges for carrying them but to unlock my bag and let them go through it would be too much of a hassle. I like how she smiled and told me to have a good day. This was new. No person smiled back in my country if you looked at them. Eye-contact would be strictly avoided and even if it did happen, it would end with awkward jerks of the head to look away, or to look down to see the non-existent dirt in one’s shoes.


I also noticed that nobody stared at you. It was easy to feel the heavy stares at your back if you walked anywhere on Nepali soil. From girls, guys, old women, old men, everyone avoided eye contact, but they stared if you stood out even just a little bit. Here, people didn’t give a shit. So I pushed my trolley towards the exit which was the entrance to a new life here in America.

*Story by Anushka KC

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