Farewell Hyderabad

I live in India. I live in India as opposed to I am living in India. This distinction dawned on me recently, and I think it is an important thing to remember in order to have a good mindset here. I am not here for a few weeks travelling, I am not even like the others in my dorm building, come here for 5 month, a month of that being travelling after classes. Right now I live in India. In March I will move back to California and then I will live in California. But right now I am someone who lives in India. I’ve lived here for over 4 months now and I have 4 months to go. I am one more person in the one point twenty two billion plus who live in India…

But now I must say farewell to Hyderabad. I am deep into finals exams now, projects and papers and sit down exams for the next week. And then in a week I’m off to another place… First a 24 hour train right up to Agra with a friend, we’ll see the sun rise over the Taj Mahal, the best time to see it apparently, and then catch another train 6 hours northwest to Delhi where I’ll spend a week sightseeing with her and attending the 2nd annual Delhi International Tango Festival! Then down to Rajasthan to try and hang out with some camels and Aimee and Lisa, then back up to Delhi to catch a train to the border with Nepal. I have to go to Nepal for visa issues. I’ll return to India hopefully in less than a week with a new visa, in time to attend a youth ecologist conference with some friends from Bangalore, then the long trek back down the western coast to the small town of Sirsi… And that will be my new home until the beginning of March. There I will be interning with an organization called Vanastree, which runs a women’s seed saving cooperative and organic farm. I’ll be working with them as an intern to complete my senior requirement for my Environmental Studies major.

But for now, I have to say my farewells to Hyderabad. I can’t say I loved Hyderabad. It is large and dirty and has far too many people. For me it does not represent India, I cannot say that I don’t like India, only that I did not enjoy living in a city with 8 million people. I think I might have similar feelings about any such large city. But I don’t think that any one thing or place can ever represent India, each state has different food, different clothes, a different  language! I have barely brushed the surface of knowing India…  Hyderabad though was a bit too much for me, I look forward to getting to spend three months in a village…

But for the past month now we’ve started to say our goodbyes! We had an awesome Halloween party, hosted (by me!) at the house of one of my program heads, the first time I’ve gotten to cook in over 4 months!  Heaven! (I made Mexican food 😉 ) .

Then last week was the SIP (Study in India Program) Cultural Show which we, all of the exchange students, put on for the whole school. Our Kuchipudi dance class did a dance (it took us 5 hours to get 12 people into makeup and costume, and that was with three people working on us!), the table and sitar classes did some pieces, the Bollywood class did a dance, my Hindi professor made us do a skit, which was a pain in the butt to sort out, but turned out to be quite a hit and was fun! There were also some video presentations and a slideshow of photography done for another student’s independent study among other things. The show was a hit and we were actually told it was the best and most creative one the administration could remember!

My Kuchipudi class in our outfits before the show!

Then this week my program, CIEE, took us to a nice restaurant for a private farewell dinner, so it was Saree time! Our program directors came over in the late afternoon to help us all tie our sarees on for the dinner!

My two bffs and I in our full Indian splendor 😉

And now all that is left is to finish up my assignments, mail the large heavy box of things I’ve accumulated and don’t absolutely need in the next 3 months back to California, pack up what’s left and…

Farewell Hyderabad!!

Hyderabad as seen from the top of Golconda Fort

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