Last time I checked, being an ocean away from everything you’ve known doesnt change a hard-core ‘change-hater’ like me. Entering college is of course different from changing schools but when the whole ‘new college experience’ is spiced up by a whole ‘new cultural experience’ it adds to the whole picture. Yes, I’m in New York-The Melting Pot, the Big Apple, the greatest city in the world or whatever you want to call it. It was a long path – applying to universities, writing tests, confirming the Acceptance, procuring Scholarship, meeting future batch-mates through Facebook and now.. I’m here. (Well I’ve been here for more than a month and this blog post was on the cards since then.) This place, a little town called Buffalo with a whole fascinating history is not exactly one of the ‘happening’ places in the New York state. But here I am in a little dorm room at the University at Buffalo (while my sweet Chinese roommate dozes away in her bed) typing a blog post about the sweeping changes going on in my life. Ah the magic of globalization! Did I ever think I’d study in Amrika while rejoicing after my tenth boards? I was behind software and computer programming then. But thanks to some timely interventions- divine and earthly- this huge choice was made. Luck or talent or chance- now this hopelessly patriotic cricket-loving Indian girl is a student – in the US.
The hardest part is, no doubt being away from my home. Sometimes it is better to control the thoughts about your favorite people- their absence is not a pain but a horror that haunts you at night. You might think I’m exaggerating but being the insufferable emotional wreck I could break into tears by just the thought of everything I left behind in India. Thinking of a green canopy of leaves overhead, a warm sunny afternoon with a novel in my bed or when a loving memory of Amma cooking for me or when my best friend’s silly joke pops up in my head- what else can I do? I miss the sense of security, love and comfort that Calicut always provided. Yes, there are bad people everywhere- but the familiarity of surroundings and proximity to loved ones is perhaps what I valued the most. Every friend of mine is going through the same state of mind. Now ask yourself- what is it that you miss or had missed about home when you are or were away for college? Was it just the knowledge that you don’t have to worry about cooking your favorite food or doing laundry all by yourself? Was it that pang of happiness you get when your best friend hugs you just to let you feel better? Or is it the joy you feel when you see your parents smile just because of something you said or did? I might be intentionally omitting all the bad experiences but thinking back to my past years there are just some faces and events that stand out- and those are the happy ones. The sad and bad ones are now like thorns I stepped on the way here. These defined me. A world cup match, a badminton game, a tickle from my sister, a funny jibe from my teacher- I’d even be willing to water the plants my mother loves so much ( a chore I totally hated ) to retrace those days..
The fact remains that this separation is inevitable. I am not the first person to leave home to pursue higher education. I am just one of those persons who would unhesitatingly state that my services in future will benefit my country- at least in a very small degree. This stint in America is teaching me one important lesson and that is nothing but pure simple independence- to live alone, proud and happy about myself. Choices and freedom is unlimited here but higher your sense of responsibility towards yourself and loved ones, more defined will be the line people expect you to cross. Darker that line, saner one remains. I draw that line and I stay behind it.
Right now in spite of the naked truth that I miss India from the deepest fathoms of my heart, I am falling in love with Buffalo. It’s unpredictable weather, scenic yet sometimes bare surroundings and just the general vulnerability somehow endears it to me. Like an old woman waiting for her story to be heard, this place seems to hold a certain aura.. Well, it always was a matter of time before I had to change my view of ‘hating change’. But now, it’s just acceptance. I suffice for myself. Peace.