So now I get the jitters whenever I am standing in front of the immigration line. How does one prove to a stern looking official that I am I, especially after a tortuous trans-Atlantic flight? I pre-plan. At the counter, my voice will be modulated to show copious amount of respect for the Immigration official, with just the right amount of lack of confidence thrown in to prove that he is the master of the moment. My composure at the counter shows my willingness to obey any official dictate. I am carrying in my bag as many relevant documents as I can pack in my bag to prove my case for entering his country: printouts of my company’s website, Google earth maps of my permanent address, my preserved placenta, certificates of awards I got at kindergarten, etc. I understand that while he has all the privilege to be unaware of the systems of my country, I have an obligation to memorize even bills being debated in his country. Therefore, I have already learnt Hello and Thank you in his native language. I am humming the first few notes of his country’s national song as he flips through the pages of my passport. I realize that he has the full right to ask me questions like why my father's name has more syllables than mine and I pre-prepare answers for them. Immediately, I get my motor cortex to twist my lips into that fake smile to show that I have flown many doves for global peace.
And when I hear the sound of loud stamping, behind that great desk at the immigration counter that seem to hold back all the secrets of life, I know how Buddha felt in the shade of the Nirvana tree. Viva Immigration officials, there was my mother who let me out into this world, and then there are you who let me in.