A Birthday to Remember

Last January, I began thinking about what I wanted to do for my 19th birthday in just under 12 months. Of all the thoughts I dreampt of, I cound never have thought that I would be spending it on the otherside of the world with friends from 4 different countries.

It began on the night of January 2. Some of us went to the club at the Presidential Hotel to dance and eat. When we arrived back at the dorms at midnight on January 3, the students threw both Nayha and I a birthday party. I have to admit, I didn’t like how they celebrate the birthday right at midnight, like how we celebrate New Years, because I didn’t have any party to look forward to on the night of my actual birthday, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy my day.

January 3 fell on a Sunday, so without classes, we went to a bookstore to buy toys and games for orphans, which we gave to them and taught them how to play. While at the orphanage, I performed  a couple of magic tricks for the kids, and they loved it. Afterwards, we walked up a hill and got a nice view of Hubli. It was certainly a birthday to remember.

Birthday Weekend

My favorite day by far has been this past Sunday. We were free to roam about since there were no classes that day. A group of us decided we wanted to go visit an orphanage. So we went to the mall and grabbed some small toys we could gift to the kids. In total the gifts might have been $100 in the United States. The money felt like nothing compared to the experience of actually going over to the orphanage and playing with these kids. It was priceless. The orphanage was all girls between 0-18 years of age who have been abused, neglected, or simply have no one who can take responsibility for them at that time. There was over 100 girls enrolled. When we arrived they performed a traditional indian dance as well as sang some kannada songs.


That night we celebrated Neha’s birthday, one of the indian students here. We went to this place called “The Hilltop” where you can see the whole city of Hubli. After the celebration, Neha took me to her house where her mom was more than welcoming. Although she did not understand english, we found a way to communicate. She forced me into a sari.

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The next night, we celebrated my birthday at 12am. It was my 21st birthday. It was my first time celebrating my birthday away from my family and my twin sister. Everyone was so sweet. I received a cake although most of it ended up in my face. I also received many gifts from friends. Even though I had just met these people, it feels like i’ve known everyone for years. This has definitely been my favorite birthday regardless of being away from my family.

World’s Away

Dispite from cruises to bahamian islands, I have never been out of America until this trip to India. I knew that there would be a difference, but nothing can ever prepare one completely for what one will encounter on the otherside of the world. After a tiring 33 hour journey from the front door of my home to the front door of the Scholar House, I did not see very much of what I had expected of India. That changed on the bus ride to the schoool, and continued to evolved during my experience. The school was much less “westernized” than I had expected, especially when I saw that every bathroom had its own miniture water heater that we have to turn on in order to take a hot shower. Honestly, I was a bit taken back by this at first glance, but I grew comfortable soon enough in my temporary home. The students, many of whom I now call my friends, showed such hospitality to us and tried their hardest to make us feel at home. It was not just the Indian students that I began to become aquainted with; I had never met any of the UML students (aside from the 2 orientations) and thus I had the opportunity to get to know them as well. By the time we arrived at the school we had all become well aquainted, and I am very happy to know them and the Indian students as well.

Ethnic Day in Hubli

January 6th was India Ethnic day, if not all most of the students where wearing traditional Indian attire. I was wearing a traditional dress of India called “kurtha” which is very comfortable compare to my custom attire. We also ate different variety of food and desert which was great. On that day we also had the opportunity to attend the first day of a 3 day conference “Make in India” which was very educational. I also got the chance to see the Defense Minister of India in person, which was very exciting and also just seeing how much everyone honored him was really awesome.

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My First Indian Wedding

My first Indian wedding is an experience that I will never forget. It was a complete surprise that a fellow student in our class had extended an invite for our entire class to come to his sister’s wedding. We ride by bus through the busy city and made it to the venue. It was to my surprise to see just how many people were attending the wedding, which amounted to over 3,000 people. We were taken into the huge room filled with people wall to wall who were handing out pieces of flowers to throw at bride and groom, who were standing on a big stage. We were taken to the front, allowed to go onto the stage to take photos and congratulate the bride and groom.

What was really amazing to me was the fact that these people invited complete strangers and foreigners into their wedding without hesitation, and treated us like family. We were directed up to the stage to meet the newly weds and take pictures as if we all knew who everyone was. It was a very amazing experience in which I enjoyed immensely, and something I was grateful to be apart of.

Blog 2

The past few days have flown by.. it it sad to realize that this amazing journey is coming to an end. In the past few days I went to two different orphanages and gave the children candy, games, and books to continue their education. There are no words to begin to describe the emotions that were pulsing through me. All I know is that seeing all of the kids faces light up and smile should be enough of an explanation in itself. Of course we have had school everyday, expect Sunday, but in between that time I have fit a lot in. Like a 7 mile trek through a forest that was created by a entrepreneur who is also a retired doctor. The link to see the hike for yourself is – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5GO5vC69AQ&feature=youtu.be – I was also able to visit three of the students homes and eat traditional Indian cuisine and learn more about the Indian/Hindu culture from the parents.


That brings the story to today and it was traditional day here in India, most of the students were wearing traditional Hindu clothing. I tried to purchase one at the market yesterday but the shirt wouldn’t fit around my arms and shoulders…don’t think the people in India have similar builds to me. I just wore a button down shirt while most of the other students were able to fit into the slim fit clothes.  Today after class we attended the International Conference on Enabling ‘Make in India’ unfortunately right before the event started I got a bloody nose and I started to feel light headed. I walked back to scholar house, where we are staying, and got another bloody nose. Once that was done I could not go back to attend the rest of the event, I took a shower and I am calling it a night.




3 Ideologies 1 Events made the Tour most valuable

The past couple of days drove my mindset into totally different track.

First one is Gaurav Sha. He is the proprietor of Seven beans innovative coffee shop. He is very young dynamic and very energetic to put vive of Entrepreneurship into our mind. He has given an awesome overview about his below 6 keynotes about the “selling of Experience” concept.

1) Ignore the real world

2) Make meaning (Community Concept)

3) Get going and keep going

4) Define a Business Model

5) Scratch your own itch

6) Think 10 times

Second one is New Year Eve Celebration. We had oval shaped common area decorated nicely with 2016 banner. We had DJ at second floor where we have rhythmic group dance with Hollywood, Bollywood dance. We had special cheese (paneer) Manchurian dish for snacks with soft drinks. Then we went for Lantern fire and flying. Near 12 o clock, we did bonfire and cake cutting after the New year touched. As a whole it was very memorable events and we had lots of fun. We even celebrated new year for Japan first and greeted each other New year in Japanese, followed by Chinese, Indian and lastly at Boston EST time.

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Third was our tour at Farm house “Suman Sangam”. Dr Sanjiv was in Gynecology practice for last 25 years. There was a quotation that “It is not only typical Farm house where harvesting is happening, here human is learned to be nature lover”. He showed us how he built this todays farm house with full of green trees from barren land 25 years before. He is Dean of one School at Dharwad. There was a nice mediation room at underground which is very cold peaceful. He stretched on the biodiversity effect to protect from global warming. He has a plan to make his farm house to be rest area for people while in long drive. instead of paying to Costly restaurant, people can get chance to spend time with soil, with nature. He proposed on giving donation for plantation of 1 tree on behalf of sweet memory of passed out some nearest dearest person while leaving the Farm house. In between we have some Chinese, Japanese and Indian songs practice by our students.

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Last but not least was the heart touching encouraging story of Mr. Abhi, the founder of NABROS Consulting firm from Chicago, USA. His HUB for Learning and Innovation (HUBLI) is the IDEA incubator for like-minded kids and adults to brainstorm and build their ideas with the access to expert consulting, events, books, grants, portal and certification. As per him, 3 main words can have real life analogies. Entrepreneurship is the first easy step, it means keep good health. Next is creativity which means build family. The ultimate is Innovation which means adaptability or accepts and update as per situation. He played special guitar made Pablo from Argentina. After that, some of us shared our past experience and new ideas. Abhi gifted his books to UML Library.

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Thus all 4 most happening events cut a deep marks in my mind, the most valuable part of the course.

New Years in India

Its been a week since we left America and I feel like I am home. Everyone in India is so welcoming and accepting. We have been here for only a week and I have done and seen more than I have seen in my 20 years in America. This year I have spent my first New Years away from my family. I was very sad that day because I was feeling homesick. However, I feel like in a short amount of time, we have grown to form a family. On New Years we had many festivities from amazing food like Paneer, a dance party (even though I hate dancing), to paper lanterns and a bonfire. The lanterns looked absolutely beautiful as they flew far away, higher and higher in the sky, all different colors and going in different directions.



The last couple days also included a trip to a local innovative farm. It was amazing on the farm. They grow every type of fruit one could think of. The best part was picking the fruits from the trees and eating them as we walked around on a tour. What I enjoyed most about the farm was the meditation cave. It is a small underground room that is completely tranquil.


On this day, my roommate and I decided to also where a traditional indian dress called a Kurta. It was very comfortable. As I sat there on the floor in the meditation room, I started reflecting on what I thought of myself before the trip and how I felt about myself now, during the trip. I took so many little things for granted. I didn’t know it would be, but this experience has truly been life changing. Little things that used to bother me like walking around barefoot outside or ants in my room, I don’t mind them anymore. It has become a familiar experience. This place, Hubli, it feels like home.


Happy Married Life

During the first session, we sat through in introductory lecture, took a chai break, formed teams, and were assigned our project. My team’s project assignment is E-Tongue, a portable, lightweight, easy to use handheld device for the testing of heavy metals in liquids.

All in all, it was a great first session. But perhaps the most interesting moment of our first day of class was an impromptu invitation to a traditional Indian wedding. At lunchtime, we took a bus to the wedding venue, which was filled with three thousand friends and family members of the bride and groom. The women were dressed beautifully in brightly colored clothing, while the men were neatly groomed and wore more conservative clothing. We were given a fistful of flower petals as we entered the ceremony hall, which we later threw forward in unison, a metaphor for wishing luck to the newlyweds. A band played loudly, music echoing through the building, as wedding-goers engaged in lively conversation.


The main hall was packed with hundreds of people, with even more outside and in additional rooms.


Family and friends gathered to celebrate the union of the happy couple.

After wishing the couple a “happy married life”, we were invited downstairs to take part in the wedding feast. It’s difficult to describe the food, but to say that it overwhelmed the taste buds with delicious traditional Indian flavor. While I cannot pronounce any of the foods I was served, I made it a point to try everything available. Except for the buttermilk. That’s where I draw the line.


Planes, Kumkuma, and Cold Showers


It took us thirty hours to get to Hubli (although by other accounts it was more), but we finally made it safely. The route from Boston to Dubai to Bengaluru was pretty straightforward. Once in Bengaluru, we met with the Chinese team of students, who greeted us with big smiles. Shortly after our arrival, we were informed that our final flight to Hubli (which was set to depart in five hours) had been delayed by five hours.


We arrived in Bengaluru shortly after 2am.

After 20 hours or so of travel, the last thing I needed was a delay. However, in the spirit of welcoming new experiences with optimism, I searched the airport with a couple of other students for something to do to kill time. After a warm shower and breakfast, I felt reinvigorated and ready to take on the rest of the trip. That is until I came face to face with this:


Our propeller plane greeted us with a big smile.

I’m no stranger to propeller planes, as I’ve had the need for short-distance flights in the past, but I’ve had pretty good luck avoiding them in the past few years. Despite the numerous thoughts running through my head, I was for once thankful for my sleep deprivation, as it allowed me to pass out shortly after takeoff, and remain asleep until the final approach.

Upon exiting the plane, a gust of hot air hit me, sparking the realization that I’d be enjoying pleasant, albeit hot weather. As soon as we walked out of the airport, we were greeted by locals who adorned us with tricolor garland and kumkuma, a very powerful moment marking my arrival to India.

Once at KLE’s Scholar House, we met the other students of the program and were immediately treated to lunch. I thought I had mentally prepared myself for the spicy food, but quickly realized I was wrong (it probably didn’t help that I bit into a pepper). Regardless, the food was incredibly delicious and gave us all an opportunity to get to know each other over a meal. During a 5:30pm orientation session, we were welcomed by KLE’s vice-chancellor, and were introduced to other program faculty.

After the session, I had a chance to familiarize myself with the dormitory. I found that my room’s water heater had broken, but was of little importance since a cold shower was just what I needed. It was only 7pm, but my exhaustion finally took over and I succumbed to sleep shortly after closing my eyes. Despite some rocky sleep caused by a combination of jet-lag, heat, and loud noises outside my window, I was up and ready by 7:30am, ready to take on our first day…