The Only Constant
Source: Desiring god
I was prepared enough to go out of Kerala for higher studies. There was no lack of colleges or courses in my hometown, but I wanted to move out to explore the opportunities and the sense of independence. But when the time came, I panicked. The reality hit me hard! There would be no more cosy evenings at home with a chai. There would be no personal room where you might have designed your own dystopian world. The bitter truth that I would be a visitor at my own home shook me. Lamenting about missing ‘ghar ka khana,’ I boarded the flight to Pune.
First few days were hard to adjust to. The timings at the hostel didn’t care about your sleep schedule. We didn’t get the food we demanded and our usual bed coffee habit became a dream. Bathroom was not free whenever we wanted to take a bath. If it was free, it was not clean. Getting hot water meant waking up at 5.45 am and keeping the bucket in the queue. Nobody was there to wash and dry our clothes. No one to cook the food we liked! If we didn’t eat, we would starve! Adjusting with the roommates was another nightmare. It took me to travel till Pune to be grateful towards home! Everyday passed by with me counting the days for the next holidays.
Without much efficiency in Hindi, I prayed to god to have at least one Malayali in the college. Luckily, there were twelve. Yet, the language gap intimidated me. I couldn’t talk to people as I did back at home and school. I limited my friendship to just a few people because I was scared to mingle with others. They say emotions are expressed best in their mother tongue. Even though I was comfortable with English, I couldn’t talk freely and expose myself to the fullest with English. I crack jokes in Malayalam! I think in Malayalam! Still, I was optimistic towards solving this problem. Getting comfortable with a language takes time. It took one whole semester for me to mingle with everyone, to form a friend group! This would have happened in a week or two in my hometown. But the effort I put into building this diverse friends circle was priceless, an invaluable experience. Now I have gotten used to speaking in English. Even commenting and saying simple sentences in hindi comes with an ease! I have friends outside Kerala!
Another thing that I panicked about was the cultural shock! People here were not childish! They didn’t even act as teenagers! They were exquisitely moulded adults who had opinions about every world event, every ideology, every leader, every political party, every book, every movie, every song! They agreed, disagreed, and argued about them! Their sheer involvement and curiosity in every topic in the world made me wonder. Inspite of being a top-scorer in school, I realised my knowledge was confined to the pages of the textbooks. I was unaware of the world I live in. When students were in favour or against something, I didn’t have any opinion on it. I was indifferent. I backed out from the crowd whenever such a discussion was going on. I struggled to figure out their intellectual jokes! Despite remaining a spectator among them, I learned! I started thinking about stuff, reading about stuff! They made me see the world that’s beyond our day to day life. I became curious! I stopped blindly accepting everything. I started questioning things which led to the formation of an opinion!
The difference in lifestyle was hard not to notice. Being the kids who were born and brought up in the city, they were open minded. Things that we found strange and rare at home were open and common here. They opened up my mind. My narrow mindset which did not accept many things started to view them from a different perspective. I became more considerate and sensible.
This whole change made me independent. Although it detached me from my parents, it contributed to my development as a separate individual. It made me capable of handling my own problems. The exposure that I’ve gotten here is irreplaceable. It has helped me shape my own ideals and my own principles. Even if I don’t excel at Economics after these three years, I am sure I will graduate as a better citizen! As a well moulded and informed individual!