Thursday, June 14, 2007


This guy, he will turn 60 next month. I called him up 11:30 PM my time. I needed my birth certificate for filing my I-485. I was worried because I believed that I had lost my birth certificate at birth. I was wondering if, by any chance, he had a copy.

I don't have it here with me in Bangalore, he said, where he currently lives with my mom, helping to take care of my baby nephew while my sister tries to make the world a better and more utilitarian place for cellphone users. But I am sure there's a copy lying around somewhere back in the old homestead in Pune, he said.

I see, I replied, do you know someone who would be willing to break into the old homestead, steal the damn thing and mail it to me? Do any of our neighbors back in Pune have a history of criminal behavior?

We don't need any criminals, son, said the old man, I will go get your birth certificate for you, when do you need it?

I have a month to file the I-485, I said. Anything within that time frame would be fine.

By the way, Pune is about 12 hours from Bangalore by road, I think. It could be more, depending upon how many farmers decide to thresh their crops by leaving them on the highway and waiting for vehicles to run them over.

You will have it within the next couple of weeks, said the old man. Don't worry. Do you want me to send you some money along with the birth certificate?

Dad, I don't need money, I am working now and have been working for the past seven years.

(By the way, thanks for sending me the 1500 dollars five years ago when I was laid off, they saved my life.)

Are you sure?

Yes, I was sure. This time.

Fast forward 18 hours. I got a call from my dad.

"Do you want the birth certificate, school leaving certificate, nationality certificate or domicile certificate or all of the above? I have them all in front of me."

What? How? Where are you?

I caught the next bus to Pune, said the old man. Do you want me to mail them to you, scan and email them to you or both? Wait, don't bother, I will do both.

Now bear in mind, it is 4:30 AM dad time and dad has just stepped off the Bangalore-Pune bus. At 4:30 AM dad time, dad is on the phone, describing to me the scannability of various 20 and 30 year old documents, based upon their relative raggedness.

Fast forward one hour. I have my birth certificate in my inbox. And it's not even been a day since the last hair was torn off my scalp in a fit of birth-certificateless frenzy.

When I am 60, I hope to have at least half the energy and vitality as does my dad.

Also dad, I love you. You are the man.