Going to America was for most a dream that was difficult to realize, especially for students aspiring to study in the U.S. An over cautious counselor at the embassy often turned this beautiful dream into a dreadful nightmare. Unless the applicants were able to set at rest all his/her misgivings on their true motive to go to the U.S., there was no way the visa would be granted. The applicant must confidently answer stock queries such as these:
“Why do you want to go to USA for higher studies? Do you know that some of the Indian universities are rated higher than the university you want to go to in the U.S.?”
If after some more such questions, the counselor was still unable to unnerve the applicant, he/she would come up with trump cards:
“Do you know how expensive it is to pursue higher education in the U.S.?”
“Can your parents afford it?”
“How much do they earn?”
“How much is their saving?”
“What is the value of their assets?”
And so on, and would conclude that their worth was not enough to afford the applicant’s education in the U.S.. But fortunately for Alok, our son, in his case the counselor concluded otherwise. The financial papers that I had prepared for him to present at the interview, plus his cool and convincing way to answer the questions impressed the counselor, especially his masterstroke reply to the last question:
“There is no computerization in your country, then why you want to go to study computers in the U.S.?”
“Someday automation will have to be introduced in India to keep pace with the West, and then there will be need for computer engineers. I want to be the first among them, after I graduate in computers from a university in the U.S.”
And Alok was granted the visa to go for higher studies to the U.S.. and he flew to his faraway destination at the age of seventeen.
Footnote: The above piece was prominently published in the Hindustan Times as my “Letter to the Editor” around the time our son successfully cleared the interview with the U.S, Embassy Counselor in August of 1982, as a guidance to other aspirants who were yet to appear for the visa interview.