54. Escape From the Farm!

It’s now the 4th day into my farming adventure.  I did not get out of bed to go up another tree.  I couldn’t help but notice there was a lot of commotion round about the place.  I decided to get up if for nothing else then to see what was happening.

To summarize; an older man, a Punjabi gentleman also did not get out of bed to go to the trees this morning.  It would seem it wasn’t by choice though.  The coroner had just arrived in the community to collect him; not an all together unfamiliar scene here apparently, at least according to the talk I was catching.

His personal belongings were soon collected by some authoritative figure at the camp.  This man had lived in a different ‘residence’ than I, so I didn’t actually see everything but of course word travelled fast and I was amazed when I heard about this man’s stash.

A wooden box had been retrieved from under his bed.  Apparently the elder man was indeed old fashioned and having no use for modern ways, never used a bank.  There must’ve been years of cash, his pay I guess, stuffed neatly away in that box.  

I remember hoping the right thing would be done and the money sent off to his next of kin, if indeed they could be found.  I was 22 years of age and I knew full-well that I didn’t want to leave this farm like that so …   

Escape from the farm!   I found the guys I’d came in with and thanked them for helping me get this job.  I confessed I was not cut out for this and it was my time to leave; must return to my original path, the one in the city.  

They offered to drive me to the Greyhound bus station and gratefully I accepted the lift.  It was nice to have a few dollars in my pocket:  I bought a ticket and was on my way.

Lalit offered a cheerful smile when I walked into his front door of the hotel.  It also felt good to pay my rent 2 weeks (total of $14) in advance.  

A nice hot shower was in order and that night I slept very well in my own space.  

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45. At Last I’ve Been Dealt the Perfect Hand – Thursday

January 1959

Thursday morning.  I got dressed with a little more spring in my step, enjoyed my breakfast and made sure to grab that bag with those documents before heading out the door.

I looked one more time into the bag, making sure I had also put the $10 American cash (which I had saved from previous American encounters) and my British passport.  I did.

I went directly to my job.  I worked for an hour and a half and then, it was tea time!  Taking advantage of this leisurely break I excused myself and went straight to the U.S. Consulate’s office.  

Theresa was there at her desk and she greeted me with an adorable smile,  “Nice to see you again.”  I put my bag upon the counter, removing all the papers and such, placing them there.

She just looked at me.  She didn’t touch them.  I’m looking at her, she’s looking at me, still Theresa is not touching them.  

“You know what?”  she asked.  ‘What?’ I replied.  I waited for her to say something else.  I am smiling and I don’t know why.  The suspense was a bubble just waiting to burst.

She finally spoke, “I am dreaming. I don’t believe it.”  Theresa tapped the papers.

‘Did I do something wrong?’  I asked her.  “There’s no way possible!”  she said.  

“I’ve never witnessed anything like this since I’ve worked with the Consulate’s office.”  Now she’s beginning to flip through the papers.  Seems to have met her approval.   

“You know Mr Masala, I have worked with this office, first in Noumea and now Suva, and I have never had a case like this where the paperwork was completed so rapidly.  Usually it’s 3-4 weeks and sometimes more!”  

Making a neat pile of it all, she took from me my passport, the American cash for the processing fee and all the paperwork back into the other office; the Office of the Consulate General.

About 10 minutes later she returned.  “Okay that’s it!  You have an appointment tomorrow morning at 10am sharp to take your oath!”  Theresa seemed excited for me, well it certainly sounded like that.  “Then you can collect your visa.”

Theresa sent me on my way with, “Such determination and great follow through Mr. Masala.  Good day!”

I could feel it, I was ready to fly!

Now I returned to work and stayed put for the rest of my shift.  But not before giving Jules another great big hug.  “Nand, come back soon and take me with you!” she told me as she hugged me back.

Passing on the celebratory cold Guinness temptation, I needed to get home right away this evening.  I was even more determined to relish in my family time.  

No developments or questions.  It was to be like any other evening at home.  I wasn’t expecting to see Noori until the weekend as that has been the normal.

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