Before I landed in the Land Of Opportunities, I only knew of 3 necessities in life – food, clothing and shelter. Life in USA brought in the fourth necessity – a car, a quintessential part of a typical American lifestyle. All first generation immigrants like me would know the burden of meeting a new necessity, as if already existing three are not enough. We knew a new addition to our life is inevitable, and that came in the form of a brand new 1999 model Toyota Camry. Unlike now, she was a cool chick back then!
Recently, my husband and I decided to buy a new car, as we felt that our Camry had served us long enough. That is 15 long years, which is equivalent to 100 years in human age. The day of purchase, we reached the car dealership,talked to the sales agent, got ready to pay for the new car, when we were thrown this question by the manager, ‘Do you want to trade in your old car?’ I realized the familiar lump in my throat that I felt only during poignant moments with fellow human beings before. The truth dawned upon me that, time has come to part with my dear Camry that remained a loyal companion for all these years. I didn’t give heed to my logic brain’s reprimand and scoff at my attachment to a piece of junk metal. Instead, I waited with bated breath to hear on the price my priceless car would fetch, when my emotional mind traveled years down memory lane.
The car, one of our first possessions of the new beginnings in the new land, has been a silent witness to our struggles, insecurities and angst in the initial years, typically associated with first generation families. My Camry has seen it all, my triumphs and failures, my anxiety of parting with my daughters on the first day of their kindergarten, my pregnancy and delivery of the second one, our excitement driving to the airport for the much awaited trip to the country we call home , our incessant small talks and fights as a family and all the fun, shopping escapades with my dear friends! She served us with no complaints for a long decade and a half, with dents on her back and paint peeling off, still so beautiful inside!
I was woken from my reverie as the sales agent approached us with the quote on our car, and my husband looked at me and knew to dismiss the deal. Yes!!! My breath fell even with the realization of being able to hold on to my ‘Comfort blanket’ a little longer. One day for sure, I have to let go of her and she would cease to be a part of my life. Till then, let me find comfort in her mere presence on my front porch. I can’t stand enough by the truth that a car IS a necessity, not a luxury when it makes its way into your heart!