Excuse the cliche title but I think its a saying that I really try to live by. I always make an effort to return to old friends and share the old and new memories.
My experience, although short, at BVB school for Engineering has been amazing and could never be repeated. All my new Indian and Chinese friends have taught me invaluable lessons that could never be learned in a classroom or through the internet.
Today was the last day and we had to present our final business plan reports for the products we were given at the beginning of the class. Everyone did a great job of speaking loudly, clearly and explaining the fundamentals behind their given products. It is clear that everyone in the program is extremely talented, smart and will be successful in their work, life or ventures. After the last presentation we received certificates for our completion of the course as well as handmade bags.
Later tonight we will all be going to Seven Beans to drink coffee and celebrate our two weeks of complete cultural immersion. It has been an amazing experience and I will definitely return to India to visit my friends and explore more of this incredible country. I would highly recommend this course and trip to anyone who has it in mind.
As I was on my way to Boston Logan Airport many thoughts swirled through my mind as to how my trip to India would play out. At first I felt nervous and stressed out that I had the wrong documents or my carry-on was too big, among other random anxiety induced thoughts but when I stepped up to the ticket desk I was surprised to hear the agent say the words “You are on business class?”. My initial ticket reservation said Economy 29K but somehow got a free upgrade to Business class which normally costs about $1000! All of my stress and anxiety quickly subsided and I made my way through the security check.
When I boarded the enormous Emirates Airbus I was ecstatic to see an amazing seat facing a television screen equipped with hundreds of channels for tv, movies, music and podcasts. The flight attendant assisting me assumed I had flown before but I quickly told her I had never flown Emirates and especially not in the luxurious Business class. She then showed me the various other offerings including a touch-screen device that could control the seat position, massage, privacy partition, reading light, and the television screen. I could barely contain my excitement as I dabbled with all the gadgets and controls. I watched some TV until a dinner of Chicken Chetinnad was served to my seat and then tried to fall asleep in order to be alert and ready for the next leg of the trip from Dubai to Bangalore.
We arrive in Dubai and are awe struck by the enormous airport that includes high-end fashion, coffee, food and other shops. Unfortunately our layover is only an hour and we are not able to experience the true nature of Dubai. Keeping this in mind I have made a mental note to return to Dubai and truly experience everything it has to offer.
We eventually board the flight to Bangalore and make our way to India. When we land in Bangalore we are met with a barrage of customs, passport and visa checks. After 8 grueling hours of waiting for the plane, we finally board and make our way to Hubli on a small airplane that has its propellers exposed. When we arrive in Hubli we are greeted by the students of KLE Technological University and they don us with kumkum and Indian flag necklaces. Eventually we board the school bus and make our way through the bustling Indian streets towards the host school. After we arrive at the school we have a brief orientation and go to our rooms to rest after a very long day (or two) of traveling.
The day started off exactly as expected, I went to breakfast with all my Indian, Chinese and American peers, we all ate Indian style eggs and noodles on plain bread and drank sweet chai and coffee. After filling our stomachs with the Indian fare we made our way to the classroom not to far from the scholar house dormitory. The class started with introductions and a syllabus with a run down of the material that we would be studying during our time at the KLE Technological School. About 2 hours passes by and we are told that we are required to take a chai break (which I believe is something that should be instated in the US), so we leave the classroom and go outside to enjoy the sweet chai that is made with chai leaves and goat or buffalo milk. We all socialize with our peers and make connections about family, friends, sports, music and businesses that some of us have started. The tea break ends and we return to our seats in class to get back into the arduous lecture that is scheduled to adjourn at 5pm. Two more hours pass by and we learn that we all have been invited to eat lunch at a traditional Indian wedding that is being hosted by one of our classmates for his sister (the bride), we all look around and murmur excitement about the incredible invitation. Eventually we all pile onto the busses and make our way through Hubli to the wedding venue. The town was bustling, the roads were busy as ever and everyone was flying through the street on motorbikes, scooters, auto-rickshaws, and busses.
When we arrived to the wedding venue the grounds were overflowing with people wearing colorful shirts and dresses. We ascended the steps of the venue and slowly made our way inside the building. As we continued into the wedding ceremony we were ushered down the isle in between hundreds of people with men on the left and women on the right (I was told that this wasn’t a tradition but somehow just happened to separate like a middle school dance). We were instructed to grab a handful of yellow flowers that were to be thrown onto the heads of the bride and groom as a way to congratulate them and wish them a happy life together. We made our way to the stage and took pictures with the newlyweds and shook their hands to wish them well. After the amazing ceremony we carried on downstairs to where lunch was being served. One thing that my Indian friends keep warning me about is the spice of certain foods. I personally love spice and am not afraid to try the spiciest of foods. I also come from Caribbean and South America descent where spicy foods are similarly abundant to India. Keeping this in mind, I try everything that the wedding has to offer and finish every last piece (as is expected by Indian tradition). With a warm heart and a full stomach we hang around talking and taking “selfies” until the busses return to take us back to the college.