precious last moments

Driving away from Coorg and this is one of those sweet flash in the pan moments that I want to hold onto forever… “Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap pumping from the sedan stereo, driving through winding roads on mountain faces surrounded by the lushest, purest, untouched-by-man greenery and tall thin trees with their wispy dropping leaves and the cool grey sunlight shining from the luminescent sky. And realizing that you may never be back, and even if you do come back, it will probably be years later with different people, purpose, and place. Never again with the generous, warm-hearted co-workers who you will never get to know enough of, or the 3 co-interns who have become your siblings.

It is only in this otherworldly place that otherworldly visions and ambitions can be prophesied and unleashed into the cool, crisp air and find their landing on fascinated ears. Where promises of international recognition, fundamental shifts in business, and explosive growth are not just promises – but realities – all set to the tone of dope beats. 

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The Qutb Shahi tombs in Hyderabad

Leaving Coorg is like a precursor to leaving India. This country which saturates the senses with its cacophony of honking horns and weaving scooties and cows flicking their tails on the roads; and women in vibrant saris wading in beaches; and movie poster-esque political campaigns; and fruit sellers hawking their exotic wares. This country steeped in millenniums of history and tragedy and triumph which has maintained its stunning diversity of dress, music, religion, food, film, and more. This country which has captured the iconic landscapes of everywhere from the lush greenery of New Zealand to the mountains of Austria to the deserts of the Sahara, and everything else in between. As someone once said, there is nothing you cannot find in India, and the things you find in India, you cannot find anywhere else.

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All the things I will miss

10 weeks, 70 days, 1680 hours, 6 048 000 seconds. 
number of cities visited: 9
number of times i’ve exclaimed at seeing cows on the road: 70
number of hours spent sitting in stationary traffic: 300
number of dosas eaten: 
15.5 and not enough
number of times we’ve broken out in song to kanye’s “mercy”: twice as many as our co-workers or neighbors would appreciate
number of trips to the frro (foreigner regional registration’s office): 2 too many
things I will miss about India: chai breaks, the entire shahi and GBL team, $3 shawls and meals, $1 uber rides, fresh coconuts and fruit juice stands and dosa and biriyani, the iconic head bobble, ola play, the overwhelmingly long restaurant menus, cows on the road, tourists taking photos of Piotr everywhere we go, the generosity of its people, Angela’s extraversion, Piotr’s funkiness, Siddharth’s cynicism, the loose sense of time, the chalta hai and jugaad
things I shouldn’t miss about India but will miss everyday anyway: the cracked pavements, 1.5 hour long bumper-to-bumper traffic commutes to work, walking across 6-lane highways, the sweet smell of the sewage canal by our apartment, communication barriers, the loose sense of time, the chalta hai and jugaad

I take from it a humbled heart, new acknowledgements of the inadequacy of my understandings and considerations, the hypocrisy of my critiques, and most of all – the knowledge that I know nothing and the hunger to know everything. I don’t want to forget the selfless kindness of people here, the incredible nuance in every aspect of life, most of all – it’s beautiful, terrifying, frustratingly awe-some complexity.

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About Stephanie Wu

Class of 2020, majoring in Business Economics and Public Policy and Statistics. Intern at Shahi Exports, Bangalore, in summer 2018.