America was a fabulous country for me to emigrate to mainly because it gave me the freedom to flower. Growing up in patriarchal and often repressive India, I’d often been punished for being a free spirit—but Manhattan appeared to reward those who dared to be different, and, in turn, I fell madly in love with the city that never sleeps.
Working freelance in Big Apple law firms introduced me to an array of corporate attorneys; over time, I made fast friends with some of them. Although I was a serf, and determinedly so—for I had no desire to compromise my artistic freedom for a few dollars more—they appeared to be far more relaxed with me than with their peers and seniors. I felt this was due to the whip of social and political correctness: these attorneys—who’d slogged for years to reach their exalted (or soon-to-be exalted) positions as senior partners—did not want to risk their ascent up the corporate ladder by saying the wrong thing to the wrong person and being publicly crucified for speaking their personal truth. Their caution was perhaps justified because even the most influential attorneys could be raked over the coals for a variety of evils: sexual abuse, racial slurs, verbal violence, et cetera. And so they learned to wear their masks so well that rarely did one get to see the complex human being beneath. Continue reading