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Friday, March 14th, 2003

My last day in America

   past and future dreams
   are fulfilled in the present
   live the dream today

Two weeks ago, I resigned from a lucrative networking job with Cisco Systems and gave up the lease on my apartment. I have to vacate the apartment by today, my last day in America.

It's amazing how much junk you can collect in your apartment over a period of eighteen years, or how what seemed so important a year or two ago now seems so insignificant... In the past few weeks I have given or thrown away just about everything in my apartment. All I am keeping (with my daughter, Lucille) is one wooden trunk. With just a few hours to go, I'm almost finished: when everything fits into the wooden trunk, I'll know I'm done.

At ten o'clock, I walk eight blocks to Saint Patrick's School to watch my twin granddaughters whom I had sponsored for the school's "jogathon." It will be a while before I participate in such a function again.

Srutasrava Prabhu comes over and we take our last walk to Starbucks for one last chai-tea latte. These walks have been so important over the last few months; Srutasrava Prabhu's philosophical discourses and sage advice on these walks have helped to prepare me for this moment.

By mid-afternoon my wooden trunk is full, and my computer carry-on bag and small check-in suitcase are packed. I am ready.

That evening, about thirty-six devotees, friends, and family gather for dinner at the Sweet Tomato, an all-you-can-eat, buffet-style restaurant. It is not only a farewell dinner for me, but it is also my eldest daughter Lucille's thirtieth birthday.

Many of the devotees who have helped me so much over the years are there: Yudhamanyu Prabhu, Srutasrava Prabhu, Shobana Krishna Prabhu, Ramananda Prabhu, Sarvabhavana Prabhu, Sanatani didi, Dikshavati didi, Sureshvari didi, Divya Shakti didi, Kum Kum didi, and their families.

At the airport the twins are more excited about going to Disneyland the next day than about me leaving for India. Nilamani, Srutasrava Prabhu's son surprises me:

   big, hot, scalding tears
   sliding slowly down your face
   goodbye little friend

I'm traveling to India with Prema Narayan Prabhu. We walk through the departure gate and wave goodbye.
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