when third time’s not the charm

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

This is his last chance to get picked in H1B lottery.

I am talking about my best friend. We both hail from India and our journey of friendship started when we were in college. We went to the same college, we both got jobs in the same company after graduation, and we were happy. But as days passed by, we realized that we wanted something more from life, we started dreaming big and no matter what plans we chalked out, it all started or ended with the United States of America. After days of discussions, creating, rejecting, and recreating ideas over and over we finally decided to apply for our Masters program in the USA. The dream was just a dream to everyone, but to us it was a lot more than just that. It was lade with risks, uncertainties and the agony of leaving behind our friends and family and traveling to an unknown world which is thousands and thousands of miles away. We knew what we were getting ourselves into, it was all risks- we resigned from our jobs, we took loan from bank and invested all our savings into planning our future. But despite knowing all these we still wanted to go because deep inside we knew or we hoped that everything will be fine, everything will turn out okay. And did it turn out okay ? Let’s find out.

Fast forward 4 years we are in the USA, both working full time and we are having the best time of our lives. Well, it sounds amazing and like a dream come true which partly is but then if you have to go to sleep every night with mind plagued with worries like is this my last year ?,what if I don’t get picked up in H1B lottery, do I have to leave immediately, what will happen to my job, my car, my apartment or what about my friends, I have to leave them too and go back ? it’s unsettling and everyday when your mind is bombarded with these distressing thoughts you slowly start to loose your mind.

We came in 2015, graduated in 2017 and we were both lucky to get job in the same year we graduated. Wait, why did I say lucky ? Yes, because if you don’t get a job in 90 days you have to leave this country immediately which means no matter how much loan you have, how much effort you made, you have to leave - end of the story. So, yes, we were lucky. Now the next hurdle was to get picked in the H1B lottery(non immigrant visa selection system which gives you authorization to stay and work in the USA) which will give us 3 years and an extension of another 3 years and since we were in a STEM program(Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) we were granted three chances at H1B lottery. Now it may sound okay but when you hear the chances of getting picked then you can actually quantify the risk we took. You may research more on the H1B lottery later but just to give an idea now I will briefly mention that the number of applications that get submitted every year is approximately 200000 out of which only 85000 are selected. Given the competitive nature of today’s market the number of applications can rise up to 250000 and plus.

Anyway, so everything was going smooth according to our plan but may be not this time. I was lucky enough to get my application picked on the first time but he was not. It should be okay right? Because he got another two chances. In the mean time he got another job offer and a good one, he took it but no matter how hard he tried to look happy, I knew something was bothering him. We were so confident that the second time would be the final one but we were wrong, he wasn’t lucky again. Now he is just left with the third and last try at H1B lottery. I can see him change everyday. He was never a victim of anxiety or depression but now I can see him worry about every little thing that might go wrong. He doesn’t get good night’s sleep or work with 100 percent concentration. All he can think of is what if his luck doesn’t favor again. He has to look for a new job in India again, forget everything that he loved here, leave his car, friends, basically saying goodbye to the dream that once emboldened him to walk fearlessly into the uncertain world. He is miserable and I feel terrible. I have never felt this helpless before and I want to help him so bad. He is my best friend and the thought of saying him good bye is killing me. He can come back for sure but thats way in the future and I am not sure if he will carry the urge to come back once he leaves. He deserves to leave with respect and definitely not like this. I have seen him work very hard to be at the place where he is now and a lottery is going to tell if he is worthy enough to stay in this country, not fair ! But like I said we are helpless at this moment and all we can do is just wait for the result and keep our fingers crossed. I am wishing with all my heart and soul to witness a miracle and I urge all my well wishers to wish with me. I can’t see my best friend leave defeated. He is a great guy and he deserves better.

P.S: His third lottery is scheduled in March, so stay tuned to know what happened to us. Wish him good luck and thank you for reading my story.