Going Across the World Tomorrow

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Picture originally by Scott Schuman

Sandeep got into the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and I’m going to Mumbai University. My dad is sick. I actually got into the University of Washington and Northwestern, but I turned them down to be with my family. My mom passed a few years ago and my Dad’s family has been distant due to some bad debts he accrued with them when he was taking care of mom.

All we’ve really got I think is our friends, our family, and our sense of self worth. I don’t need some school in the states to tell me that I’m smart. I know I am. Sandeep knows I am and my Dad knows I am. I don’t need to attend university there to learn calculus or how to write in English. I can do those things there. I don’t want to learn how to send rockets into space or make robots walk. The real money is in making sure everyone has food to eat. If we can’t eat we can’t do anything.

Besides, I was reading on the internet and in Illinois the major food groups are apparently beef, potatoes, pork, and green beans. I’m worried Sandeep is going to starve. And that stuff is really expensive compared to food here. I can eat for a full day on food that is really tasty on what it costs to get a small meal over there. No wonder Americans always seem unhappy in their movies.

I think Sandeep is the more nervous about the future than me to be honest.

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Do you know how Murthy and I met?

He was stranded in traffic with a broken down motorbike. He was wearing this really pink jacket that thought was for girls. I offered him a ride across town on the back of mine. He was late for an appointment with his dentist and I was headed to boxing practice. When I was coming back from practice I had a black eye from sparring. I saw his pink jacket first and realized it was him walking on the side of the road. I stopped to give him a ride back across town. Pradeep jumped when I tapped him on the shoulder and I guess he saw me in my gym clothes with the black eye. He told me I could have his money.

I laughed so hard people gave me strange looks. Pradeep eventually realized I was the guy who gave him a ride to the dentist. He invited me over to his house for chai and snacks. His mom insisted that I stay for a full meal to show thanks as long as my parents said it was OK. They had this phone with the rotating dial that I used to call my mom and ever since then we’ve been friends. He is still holding on to that phone even though he has a smartphone. He said he was going to sell it for boat loads of money on eBay in a few years when they are rare and antiques.

Makes me think about the past. If we just saved a few things here and there. Mundane things. They are worth something to people of the future to look at and admire how we accomplished so much with so little.

I feel sad for the people of the future. They might not have given some poor strange kid a ride in the middle of busy traffic. There would have been an app to call that strange kid a Uber or something. Maybe he wouldn’t even be driving his motorbike across the city.

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This was Humans of New York inspired. I didn’t realize it halfway though until I finished. If you liked it give me a follow or give me a recommendation. Thank you for reading.

Writer of The Polymerist newsletter. Talk to me about chemistry, polymers, plastics, sustainability, climate change, and the future of how we live.

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