I landed in Mumbai late last night and woke up somewhere in between stolen hours of jet lagged sleep to the monsoon winds passing through the palm trees. A few hours later, it’s back to the chaos of traffic honking along the roadways of this beautiful city by the sea.

This afternoon I had the pleasure of spending the day with CASI intern Sudeep and we took off to explore South Mumbai on a sleepy Sunday. As usual, the gulleys are dotted with spontaneous street cricket, queues of men strangely waiting for passports near Rhythm House, and the occasional confused tourist asking us if we might just know where they could find Fab India.

As I wandered with Sudeep and we talked about his internship, I thought back to our last meeting at Penn. It is hard to imagine that it was only a few short months ago when all of the student interns were in and out of the CASI office, curious, nervous, excited and eager. And now, their time here in India is almost done. I started to reflect that indeed something as short as eight weeks can profoundly change your life.

When I graduated from Penn years ago, I came to India on a one-way ticket and my world was turned upside down. I have been fortunate enough to have lived here for years, and continue to learn from countless people who have taught me so much about their work, their outlook, and how life beats to a slightly different drum a few thousand miles across the ocean.

As our CASI interns wrap up the summer and prepare to return back to Penn, it would be lovely to read everyone’s reflections on the summer: What are the challenges you foresee once you return? How did your summer change you, if at all? What are the greatest take away messages? Do you think of coming back to India? If so, in what capacity?

I look forward to sharing bits and pieces about each intern as I get to see several of them over the next few days at their internship sites. Stay tuned.

One thought on “Mumbai!

  1. Yes indeed, 8 weeks can change your life. And it’s incredible that Penn facilitates this experience.

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About Aparna Wilder

Associate Director, CASI Student Programs and Outreach After graduating from Penn, Aparna spent six years living and working in India. She volunteered with Indicorps and started her own production house, global rickshaw, that makes short films in collaboration with NGOs and non-profit organizations. Aparna is a TED India Fellow and holds an MPA from Columbia University.