Monday, July 14, 2014

Five years in India, a lookback

This is part of series of blog posts on Farewell India

On summer of 2009, I and couple of friends boarded in a plane to New Delhi. We had finished high school, and were heading for college. It was first time we were going far away from home, which means there was bit of fear in everyone of us. But we were also very excited for so many reasons. We were young full of energy and enthusiasm. We were too happy to escape from family and parents and live freely in a new country.

While on plane, we watched the Himalayas go further away every passing minute. Within two hours, we landed in 43 degree celsius. Next day we travelled by Indian Railways to Pune, a city known for it's weather and colleges. It takes more than 30 hours from Delhi to Pune in normal passenger trains. I had never done that long journey before, but it's all normal here. Indian Railways is show, passengers outnumber seats in every train by huge margin, it is dirty and feels like it was never upgraded once British left. 

Anyways, the journey itself was very memorable. In school, I was taught India was one of the most populous countries. Here I could see vast endless empty land. For someone like me who grew up in remote hills in western Nepal, that scene itself was unforgettable. 

After arriving in Pune for few days, we got admission into fairly well known colleges under University of Pune. But soon I discovered, colleges here are pathetic. Faculties act like a primary school teachers, the ones who are tough. They didn't seem to have needed knowledge to be a faculty, asking questions in class was discouraged, students were punished like primary school kids, in so many occasions exam papers appear with full of printing mistakes. I could go on and on. My life as college student here was terrible. Sure, the college I attended isn't among best colleges in India. But still is fairly well known all around.

Outside of college, we started to feel freedom of being far away from parents. Personally now I feel had been very rebellious. I rejected so many things that were made to us to believe by school or society (even though I was wrong in many occasions, I believe). We did nonstop partying. Travelling was something that happened so frequently. On winter of 2009/10, we went to Rajasthan. It is full of palaces, which doesn't interest me a single bit. But it has great Indian desert, to my surprise. On summer, we went to northern state of Himachal, from Chandigarh to Shimla to Manali. Within three years, I managed to travel many of the major states and cities reaching mountains, great desert and sand dunes, beaches and crossed thousands miles of empty deserted lands by train. Then I almost stopped travelling within India unless it was needed as I din't find any interesting anymore. Though I still wanted to visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

During that time, I also developed deep interests in many other subjects like web/internet, economics, development etc. Many times, we debated whole night on those topics. The fact that college didn't provide the environment I wanted; forced me to look elsewhere. This is where self learning came. I would just search best resources on internet, download and continue reading until I got eye strain or exhausted. With internet getting richer with resources everyday, that habit still continues. 

On last year of my college, I did internship in a small IT firm. After college, I started my first job at Changer Technologies, a Dutch company with development office in Pune. This is where real education started. I worked with people from diverse backgrounds, different countries and cultures. Fast forwards, I spent there more than two years, met some great people, developed great friendships, and needless to say - learned a lot.

My life in India has been wild ride. On next post, I will write about issues that excite and depress me.