Moving For A Job

Diwali Lamps

As the weather turns cooler, and fall is about to start, I am reminded that my 13th anniversary of moving to California is coming up. I did not dream of finding myself job hunting back in NY, but here I am. One of my mentors who quietly listened to my job search stories when I was first starting out said to me, “You have to go where the jobs are.” So I did, out to Cali. The job scene is now actually more robust on the East coast than the West, but in 1999 it was a different story. The dot.com craze had started and places like Stanford University were hiring. I packed up everything I owned, tacked it onto someone else’s moving load, cut the plates off my car with bolt cutters and sold that two-toned Novarolla to pretty much the lowest bidder. I boarded a plane, then landed in San Jose and wound up in an apartment complex just a few blocks from Apple.

I should have rented an ark. It rained every day for three months and I swear it was colder than back home. However, what sticks in my mind is my first Halloween there. This apartment complex was 90% Indian families. So the children dressed up, paraded around and we passed out candy. But that wasn’t the best part. What I didn’t know then was that it was also the Indian festival of Diwali, or the festival of lights. The kids trick-or-treated by the light of traditional Diwali oil lamps or colorful Christmas lights strung along the balconies. Then they changed into beautiful traditional Indian saris and passed around traditional Indian sweets. I had only been in Cali 2 days, but it was a beautiful sight and a nice gesture towards acknolwedging diversity that everyone was included in the celebration of the festival of lights.

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