On the road, on the run, Kimaya Suni reflected on the path that had taken her from her hometown just outside of Mumbai, India to this nondescript hotel just outside of Georgetown, KY. She had worked hard to take the pigeon English of her grade school in India to fluent English where she could compete for the research positions at the NIH. After school she had stayed on as part of the H1B program and applied for citizenship. That had been one of the proudest days of her life, the awarding of citizenship. The ceremony attended by her friends and family brought tears to her eyes as she took the Oath of Citizenship.
Her mind flashed back to an image of herself playing with her friends, wandering through the streets of Mumbai. Her parents were of the upper caste and they lived an upper middle class life. By Indian standards they were wealthy. Yet, just walking a few blocks from her house would find her in the middle Dharavi of one of Mumbai’s most infamous slums. The streets were filled with squalor and multiple brothels lined the edge of the slum. She had been with one of her friends when two guys, coming out of one of the brothels, tried to grab her and her friend. What had ensued was a mad dash through the streets and narrow alley ways in order to escape enslavement or worse. Her friend had run the other way and had not been lucky enough to get away. Her friend had completely vanished after that. Had she not been so skinny and managed to squeeze into one of the many small drainage tunnels that littered the landscape she too would have met the same fate. She had believed the US never had things like that happen. Now she was beginning to wonder.
The search for her friend involved the police and many of her parents friends. The police had always sounded nice but to her 10 year old ears there was something off about how they sounded. She had always thought they were more involved in not finding her friend than in actually locating her. It was one of those experiences that shape people. It had made her a believer in the ideals of America. Over time, watching the US government, her faith in those ideals had been shaken but still America was a wonderful place, freer than anywhere else in the world. Even the NSA spying and Edward Snowden had not changed her mind. Of course being hunted as a fugitive and wild beast was not how she expected the ideals of freedom to be played out. She now understood how Snowden must have felt. Moving to Russia is not out of the question.