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Five Things I Miss About India

 

There are so many things about being an international student that I love, but it’s difficult to live 8,000 miles away from home in a different culture. India is my home, and I’ve lived in the city of Bangalore (which is in South India) for most of my life. I’ve thinking a lot about home since it’s gotten colder; the warmth of the Indian sun has been feeling like a distant memory in cold, windy Pennsylvania. Here are the five things I miss the most:

 

1. My friends and family

This is Archie, just floating around in his tank circa 2016.

 This is an obvious one, and not just because my mother is probably going to read this article. (Hello mother! I’m sorry I haven’t called in a while!) It’s been hard to go from seeing these lovely people every day, to just a couple of times a year. FaceTime and Skype have been useful, but certainly aren’t perfect substitutes. A special shout-out goes out to my turtle Archie, who grew up with me, and has been my roommate for several years.

 

2. The food

These are kadubus, which are essentially fried dough with powdered sugar, coconut, and a hint of cardamom on the inside. They’re usually made once a year for a festival called Ganesha Chaturthi, which makes them even more special!

 I didn’t realize how much I had taken for granted until I got here. I feel the difference most starkly at breakfast. Eating breakfast was a habit back home, but I’ve eaten a total of ten breakfasts since I got here last August. The idea of cold breakfast meats still feels alien to me, especially since my breakfasts back home were warm and usually vegetarian. I also miss Indian spices and flavors, and rice. However, Indian food is so much more enjoyable when I go back home for breaks!

3. Speaking my mother tongue

 My name in Kannada on my door! (I did not draw the cat, and I certainly do not possess the skills to draw anything remotely pretty.)

 I’m from the Indian state of Karnataka, and my mother tongue is Kannada. English is my first language, and I speak it most of the time, but I’m realizing how much I cherish my mother tongue and the culture that comes with it. There are a lot of words and concepts that just don’t translate, which can get frustrating sometimes. Thankfully I have a Kannada dictionary in dorm room, and looking through it always makes me feel better. I’ve also found that little things, like writing my name in Kannada on my door, make the rough days a little easier.

 

4. Watching Indian Television shows with my family

This Hindi show, Kalash…Ek Vishwaas, was my favorite for a while, and I’m not entirely sure why. 

 Indian television shows are in a league of their own. If you’ve never watched one, I highly recommend doing so immediately. They’re the perfect mix of drama, action, mystery, adventure, intrigue, and romance. They’re also notorious for plots that move at a snail’s pace, or plots that stop making sense a couple of months into the show. There’s nothing quite like keeping up with the complex relationship dynamics and becoming emotionally invested in characters alongside the people you love. As they say: families that yell at a TV screen together, stay together!

 

5. The traffic

This is a picture I once took accidentally while I was stuck in a traffic jam, but I think it tells you everything you need to know about Indian traffic.

This one seems weird, but anyone who live in India will understand. Indian traffic is a unique phenomenon, and it breaks all the rules of space and time. So much of my adolescence has been spent in traffic that it now feels like something important is missing in my life. I especially miss the auto rickshaw, a kind of three-wheeled vehicle that’s endemic to Asia. If you spend enough time in India, the hum of running engines and the cacophony of car stereos and car horns becomes a part of your soul. I swear I can hear it all when I’m walking through suburban Philadelphia.

Honestly, I miss so many things about home that no list can really do my homesickness justice. Leaving for college was my first time away from home, so the transition to college life was very challenging. The last couple of months have also been especially challenging for international students, with all the uncertainty about policy changes. However, I am thankful for the professors who have let me bring my culture into their classrooms, my friends on campus who have taken the time to learn the correct pronunciation of my name, and my friends back home who are still there for me from 8,000 (or more) miles away. 

Aarushi is a freshman at Haverford College. She thinks it's pretentious to write about oneself in third person, but is hypocritically doing it anyway for this biography. She is an international student from India who loves to talk about cats, music, and her succulent who she recently renamed Frank Ocean. She doesn't know what she's going to major in yet, but she's interested in political science, philosophy, and psychology. She spends her free time worrying, stitching, and writing poetry. Her dream job involves herding sheep on a small farm in Canada, but she's probably going to end up in law school.
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