What was most striking to me about India when I first arrived was the traffic. The unbearable honking, the fact that no one actually uses the lanes, the pollution, the cows and all the vehicles that read “Sound horn OK please”. I thought to myself “Why are they encouraging this sorts of honking? What is going on? What does it mean for the sound of the horn to be OK?” Bangalore traffic is definitely the worst in the country (that’s not an exaggeration) as three kilometers can very easily turn into a 45-minute cab ride in traffic. I remember being thoroughly annoyed at how difficult it was to get around and it made me so uncomfortable.
10 weeks later, I still feel similarly about the traffic. It’s no longer overwhelming though and now I can even laugh about all the occurrences I see while walking to work or riding in an auto. I think my change in perspective about the traffic is representative of my growth and development during my time in India. The sounds of the horns are okay now as I have learned to accept the unpredictable and sometimes hectic flow of traffic (and things in our lives). Just knowing that although I may have to wait 5 minutes to cross the street and weave through cows, motorbikes and autos I will cross the street in one piece! I think the traffic is an analogy for getting used to things that make us uncomfortable and learning how to deal with change as it comes, which is something I very much needed to reassure myself about coming into this summer.
I’ve been abroad for three and a half months this summer. This past semester was by far the most difficult semester I’ve had during my time at Penn. I struggled academically, emotionally and psychologically and the thought of going abroad when all the support systems I had were in the U.S was very scary. I wouldn’t have imagined that I would create such wonderful relationships with the people here and that they would become my support systems during a time of personal flourishing. As I’m getting ready to leave India, I’ll miss the people who I’ve become close with the most. I don’t know when I’ll see them again, but I know that they’ve touched my life in a way that’s unforgettable.
Updates on my project:
This was my last week at Jana Urban Foundation and my work has been a wonderful learning experience and has taught me a lot about what I would like to after graduation. The final deliverable of my project was a short list of MSE that JFS should reach out to organize by zone, ticket size and segment. Along with this, I also helped curate two field studies that will be used by the field teams at JFS and JUST.
P.S- I’m here for about 10 more days and while my internship at Jana has ended, I will be heading to Madurai to stay at an ashram for a week. Until next time (When I’m finally back in the U.S)!