Priya Bellare: Taking the Oath

2 min

Like many immigrants before her, Priya Bellare took the oath of citizenship with feet firmly planted in her native and new countries.

Being an immigrant has been a way of life for me. Adapting and getting to know different people, in order to fit in, has been a necessity, not an option. But I have noticed how people from different corners of the world come here, to start fresh, with a new visibility that wasn’t experienced in their own countries.

As I drove to the city to take the oath, I thought about how my birth country gave me the foundation, courage and freedom to dream big and think big.

Living in the U.S. for 22 years has, however, changed some of my beliefs.

This country allowed me to dream more, feel inspired, and do tasks more easily. I owe a lot to its people for allowing me to stay here like their own, despite being an outsider. This thought of being an immigrant, in fact, never came to my mind. I did feel like I belonged here in many ways.

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On the day of the oath, upon entering the hall, we raised our hands and I was asked to repeat the sentence, “I will give up allegiance and loyalty to the country that I came from ...” At that moment, I had a vision of the door and stairs in front of my parents’ house and the space where I grew up in and was nurtured in to be the person I am today. It suddenly made tears gush to my eyes and I was breathing heavy, to curtail these racy emotions that could not be stopped, as I questioned, how could I renounce all the growing up I did in that little space that protected me? It felt irrational, but it prevailed in my mind.

Despite getting the perks and luxuries, an immigrant carries that burden of being in a new place, looking and feeling different. But she also imbibes and carries with herself the natural ability to accept changes, and differences in people, like the people of this country stood up for. This is how the world can come together. It’s something that has been imagined and done and can continue in this country of freedom.

With a Perspective, this is Priya Bellare.

Priya Bellare came to this country for her Ph.D., and is now a scientist in molecular biology and diagnostics.