Since I am an immigrant
I am not allowed to
Have a legal job yet
So I volunteer at a homeless shelter
On my first day, I feel like a mouse surrounded by cats
What will people make of an Indian woman?
Will they judge?
I nervously walk into the entrance of the shelter
Not knowing what to expect
In the shelter, there were names posted
Of people who would volunteer
I optimistically scoured the list of names
Hoping to see an
Arjun, Arun, Aarav, Rama or a Parvathi
But instead I was met with names like
Chris, Dave, Matt, Suzy, Joe and Bob
As I got to the last name on the list
I almost did a happy dance
I read the name out loud
A name that resonated with me!
As I looked at the volunteers trickling in,
My eyes fell on one
Her skin was like chocolate
Her hair the color of a crow
Just like me
As her eyes laid on me,
She gave me a wink
I knew from that moment
That we would be good friends
My roller coaster ride in the US
Was about to go up
Some context: came here on a dependent visa. Not being able to work was the most difficult thing to get used to. But I volunteered, and in the process made a life long friend.