Weeks ago, my friend called from Bhutan asking me to give some money to his wife whom he said was in Bangkok for some business. After meandering through the Bangkok traffic during the afternoon heat, I was able to locate his wife sitting lost on a sofa of the hotel lobby. She looked relieved though when she saw me coming. She had come to Bangkok for Visa business.
After loaning her 200 dollars, I offered to treat her with ice tea from a convenience store nearby. She looked troubled. When asked about the reason, she said that her US visa application was rejected by the US Embassy. She had paid Nu. 400,000 to the broker who offered to arrange for an invitation letter from USA. The broker’s deal was that if his client got visa, the full Nu. 4, 00,000 deposited while applying for visa with the broker got forfeited. The broker had guaranteed 99 percent that her visa would be through. Well, thats what business is all about. She had a deal with her broker that if the visa got rejected, some Nu.150,000 got forfeited out of Nu. 4,00,000 deposit and rest was returned. The airfare, hotel and other miscellaneous expenses fell beyond blind spots.
In order to satiate “beautiful future” dream of his wife, my friend took loan from banks to upfront security with broker. When his wife’s visa got rejected, the couple was dragged into predicament. They had a dream that the dollars earned in US would not only offset the loan but would also ferry them to elite class of “Land cruiser and building owners.” It was a beautiful dream. Visa rejection woke them up to reality. The reality of loan repayment. Dream of money happiness had recoiled.
Days later I wondered if my friend’s wife would have ended happily even if she got visa to go to US. Leaving her own child of three years, she was attempting to babysit someone else's child in US. The money she paid to the broker for processing US visa, she may well have spent in running a profitable business in Bhutan. I have lived in US for a very short while. It’s a great place if you have money to spend but if you are someone looking for pasture, you better have the sickle sharp enough to lay the green grass. If you have none, pray that American Jesus save you. That sickle I am talking about are your skills.
Many years ago, many young Tibetans pursued the same dream of living across the fence. Their parents also took loan from friends and others in a hope that their children would send them back money once they started working in US. The children neither sent the money nor they returned. The parents spent sleepless nights worrying about the loan to repay while the children squatted in a crowded room in "Queens" to make sense of life. Majnu Ki Tilla in Delhi where many Tibetans live and Bhutanese frequent is also known as “ Majung Pai Threla” among Tibetans which roughly means “ a place of unsuccessful people." It is said that all Tibetans who have been unsuccessful in college, getting job, getting visa, bankrupt in business, politically knocked out, and down in life gather at Majnu Ki Tilla…..oh! Majung Pai Threla. I think thats not a nice transit camp to US, at least not for Bhutanese. The only nice thing you get at " Majung Pai Threla" is momo at one of the Tibetan shops.