The American dream through the H-1B wall

A deep dive into the professional struggles and private lives of Indians walking the H-1B tightrope

Towards the end of October 2018, as the leaves in Atlanta turned an autumn shade of red, a Bengali man with a broken leg awaited surgery. It was around 9 a.m., and he lay in the pre-operating room at Resurgens Orthopaedics in Roswell, Georgia, a northern suburb of Atlanta. According to the monitor above his head, everything looked normal.

With him in the small room, partitioned by a curtain from other patients, were his wife and a close friend, a fellow Bengali. The three of them were members of Pujari, a Bengali association in Atlanta.

Bijoy can’t quite recall the conversation they were having in the hospital room that morning. “It must have been a regular conversation about sports, movies, the weather. Not something I can remember.” And then someone in the room mentioned the term “H-1B”. The monitor above his head showed a sudden spike in his blood pressure.

After eight years in the US on a precarious visa, Bijoy has learned to laugh at the anxiety that shadows him.

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Illustrations by Swati Addanki.


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