Baking My Own Apple Pie

Growing up I would have never thought that I would one day be looking up the recipe to make apple pie. The day was when I got home after becoming a naturalized American citizen. More about how the apple pie turned out later.

I was born in India, but spent most of my childhood in Kuwait. There were not much to do growing up – either play outside in 120 degrees Fahrenheit or watch TV. On TV the choice was between the state sponsored Arabic channel that had endless discourses (here too you had two choices– religion or politics) or an English channel that essentially had 3 hours of programming. Needless to say the English channel had such a captive audience that ad companies could have sold anything (including audio tapes on programs from the other channel). I guess my fixation on everything American started by watching the programs on TV. My favorite shows (and the only programs shown) were That’s Incredible, Knight Rider and Battlestar Gallactica (Dirk Benedict – Lt. Starbuck was such a favorite that I had sworn to keep his hairstyle until death – little did I know at that tender age that age and balding would undo the pact). Even now the prelude music to KITT going airborne gives me the goose bumps!

After completing my engineering in India and a few years of working and traveling around the Middle East and Europe, I decided to work in the States. There were two choices at that point to work in the United States – cross the border through Mexico (easy but not very legal) or pursue higher studies (legal but not very easy). After a long year spent on preparing for the aptitude tests and making my career till date sound worthy of Chainsaw Al (he was still a hero then), I finally landed in Indianapolis one beautiful summer day. My first impression was the skyline of Indianapolis did not look like all the skylines I had seen in the movies (I made the assumption that every city had impressive skylines, fantastic beaches and supremely fit people – I had progressed on to David Hasselhoff and Baywatch which was one of the most watched shows in the world by then). My two years at Purdue seemed to pass by very quickly (must have been because I had no time to watch TV due to all the class/home work) and my quest to work in the US was fulfilled.

When I left my Big 5 consulting job for Roundarch, I was offered the chance to apply for my green card. For those who don’t know – the green card (which is not green by the way) gives you the freedom to work in the US without the time limitations set by other types of Visas. It also gives you option to apply for the US citizenship at end of around 5 years. When I finally applied for my naturalization, my boss gave me the Schoolhouse Rock DVD to study (he was paranoid that I would fail and therefore get picked up by the rendition unit of the CIA). To tell you the truth I knew everything from just watching the three TV programs from my younger days. I also very nearly did not make my citizenship test. After answering all the questions on history, civics etc, the gentleman asking the questions asked me if I had ever been married to two or more ladies at the same time. I told him earnestly that being married to one lady itself was tough. He looked at me, as if giving me one more chance, and asked me to answer the question with a simple yes or no. That was a tough question.

The apple pie was not very good. I should stop watching the Knight Rider re-runs and switch to Rachel Ray.

Jaison Manian has been a consultant with Roundarch for 6 years. When he is not on an assignment he is constantly peering into the mirror imagining a head full of Lt. Starbuck like hair while hoping one day that his KITT like Honda can jump over the potholes in Chicago.

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