March 2001. Twenty-six-year-old Sujit Banerjee holds an appointment letter from a US database giant. He has been holding this letter for the past two months. The company has told him to keep waiting. Payal Srinivasan received a call from her US employer a few hours before she was to board the flight, asking her to hold on. For people like Payal and Sujit, the wait may turn out to be endless. And many of their friends who made it to the US at the height of the IT boom have also see their silicon dreams crumble. Jobless in Seattle, they now look back home for help. The US slowdown can no longer be ignored.
Airport transit lounges aren't filled with "software agents" anymore. Headhunters who received not more than two CVs a month from a candidate in the US, now get more than 20 a day. The American fantasies have turned sour for a significant number of the 4,50,000 H1B visa holders largely employed in hi-tech industries.