US CitizenshipMon, 9th Dec '13, 11:00 pm::

As of today, I am a naturalized citizen of the United States of America. I had my oath ceremony today in Tampa and was joined by my wife Juliet, her mother, and our close friend Carlos. Due to delays in mail delivery, we found out just two days ago that my oath ceremony was to be held today. I was looking forward to inviting more people to attend but the short notice put a kibosh on that idea. After the oath ceremony, we went to the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate. Then we came home, I took a four hour nap, ate some more cheesecake and Mac & Cheese, and watched The Simpsons for three hours straight. All in all, a pretty standard American day.

On a more serious note, I am looking forward to getting my first jury summons. While a vast number of people hate being summoned for jury duty, I love the idea that the common man still gets to play a role in the judicial system. I also registered to vote today, so now I'm responsible for 0.0000000000285714% of everything the US government does.

On an even more serious note, this was a day of mixed emotions for me. As jubilant and proud as I was to become an American today, I was also humbled by the thought that I will now have to surrender my Indian passport and renounce my Indian citizenship since the Indian Constitution does not recognize dual citizenship. My Indian passport has been one of my most prized possessions, literally a proof of my identity. I've used it to prove who I am at every US Visa and immigration interview, every driver's license renewal, every mortgage signing, and even when we applied for a marriage license. While I haven't traveled much internationally to miss the various visa stamps, I will miss the "Home" address of Calcutta (now called Kolkata) on the second page of my passport, where my parents still live. Even though I've been a Permanent Resident (greencard holder) in the US for many years now, my passport still said my "home" was in India.

The flip-side of this is that I will soon get a shiny new US passport, enabling us to travel to many more countries around the world with minimal restrictions. The only countries I have been to is India, Nepal, United States, Canada, and Mexico. Now Juliet will finally get a chance to feed more interesting animals around the world!

 < Nov 2013Jan 2014 >