So I'm going to level with y'all here- I'm pretty terrified today.
I hate to admit it because I so desperately want to be a ballsy, independent, who-gives-a-fuck, live-in-the-moment, busting-my-ass-for-what-i-love kinda lady. Instead, I'm sitting on my balcony and absent-mindedly scrolling through a newsfeed choked with Facebook statuses and check-ins from various international airports. There are the subtle ones about the ugliness and bad service of a particular departure gate, written to sneakily imply the frequent flier status of its dear writer. The more stereotypical ones about all the home food and family they are going to miss, and then the whiny ones explaining the 30+ hours of travel that lie between their boarding gates and their pursuits of academic rigor and american citizenship.
I'm not gonna lie though- some of them have been downright hilarious. Who knew that college kids could make the seasonal seesaw of boarding a plane and leaving home sound so witty. I guess Facebook likes are pretty bomb incentive- take note academia, take note.
But anyway, this isn't about Facebook statuses and social media sharing. Well, it kind of is, but we'll have that chat some other time. This is about the new shit that's going to go down today. Today, at about the time I should have been sitting on my suitcase, making sure that all my badly packed jars of turmeric and honey are properly wedged in between my semester worth of hippie clothing, I'll be fighting for a seat on the local train and heading towards my first day of work. At about the time I would've been flirting with the guy at the check-in counter to let my overweight-by-many-kilograms luggage go ahead, I'll be sitting at the dinner table with my family, probably shoveling chocolate into my mouth, most likely laughing. At about the time I would've been doodling in transit, my most cherished doodling time, and automatically switching my accent from indian-home-voice to international-accented-voice, I'll be asleep in my bed of 20 odd years, next to my little brother of 16 even years.
Ever since my terrible 10th grade experience (another chat for another time), I've thrown myself wholeheartedly into this whole international student thing. My role as little Indian in international setting is one that I have perfected. I am cute, I am small (my mother will disagree here), I can make a mean aloo gobi, and I'm very good at being your token Indian friend who makes you feel at home with my comfortable blend of exotic and ordinary and straight up crazy. This tactic has served me splendidly for almost four years now. All my relationships in these past four years have been with darlingly delicious Westerners (give or take), I have learnt more about American culture and western liberal feminism than I ever expected, and I have officially come to a point where pasta con pomodoro and my trips to the Claremont farmers market are stronger and closer food memories for me than any of the food of my childhood. And we all know that in my world, food is everything.
Don't get me wrong- I love college! I love the developed world! I love it for its comfort, it's privileges, it's incredible kale smoothies, and the loveliest, most wonderful friends and family that it has given me. I'm looking at you, Italian (fairy) Godmother, European foster families and American loves of my life. But I'm also tired of the seasonal seesaw- the ritual accent switch, the packed bags, the feeling of never belonging, the constant state of immigration and travel, the lack of home. So I'm ditching it this semester. I'm stayin'!
I begin my internship at a wonderful, incredible little company called NorBlack NorWhite today. Other than being mildly obsessed with them over the internet and having fallen head over heels in love with their founder during our brief meeting- I have no idea what I'm in for. Lots of fingers crossed.
I know that taking a semester off has been done to death, and a gap year is basically mandatory for any self-respecting hipster these days, but this is a big deal for me y'all. I am terrified! Terrified of being forgotten, terrified that the life I am putting on pause in Claremont will dance on without me, terrified that Bombay will rewind me to angsty, ship-wrecked 10th grader, and terrified most of all, that I will disappoint myself.
But as I look up from my agitated laptop typing, I see mother-father-brother sitting around our breakfast table. From here it looks as though Aman has missed his schoolbus (again), and is unwilling to give up his breakfast to go chase it. Kid's got his priorities straight. My dad is reading aloud random facts from the newspaper that he thinks we should all know (The prize money for the Mumbai Marathon is $43,000 and the elections are going to be a shit show, duh), and my mothery madre is orchestrating it all- glancing at the clock to make sure she isn't yet late for work, shovelling toast and plates of food towards her teenage son, smirking at her husbands news reporting, and still finding a spare second to glance at her first born girl who is grumpily blogging about her feelings and shit. I am utterly butterly terrified but there is breakfast to be had, and news facts to be heard, and a train to be caught and somewhere deep down, this first born daughter and evil big sister knows- all will be well.
Here are some photographs from Alleppey, Kochi and South Goa. Sunshine and a silly boy who loves to surf and what felt like summer and lots of Sana smiling involved. More on that next time. Meow.