Prachi H Patel University of California, Berkeley


The first thing that people told me when I decided to take this internship in Mumbai was that people here are not to be trusted. That I had to be careful because almost everyone would be out to scam, cheat or steal from me. Although I was born in India and have been here before, this was my first time here alone. And even though I look Indian, people can tell from my garbled Hindi and constantly confused face that I am not from around here almost instantly. Everything from scared aunties to travel guides painted Mumbai in a wicked and greedy light and I came into this experience fully prepared with a hard shell over my easily trusting personality. But my experience here has taught me exactly the opposite, so this is a tribute to all the friends who have convinced me otherwise. Karan, you made a 10 hour flight “fly by” and gave this newcomer the Mumbai 101 course straight from a local. To the nice family outside the airport who waited until the driver came because they noticed how close I was to tipping over from my luggage that weighs more than me. For all the coworkers who with their light hearted humor, Cadbury chocolate breaks and “antakshari” games made me feel like like family. “Satya, tere notunki yaad dilata hai ke thodi masti ke bina life ka maaza kuch nahi hai.” Dikshita, Yash and Samir for showing me the ropes and tolerating whatever terrible sounds and noises coming out of my mouth that I claimed was Hindi. “Aur haan mujhe pata hai ke mera accent kafi cute hai.” Debason, Nikita, Rishi, Sandeep, Viraj and Vishal for taking this “videsi intern” under your wings and for finally feeding her that “gola.” “Tumare jaise dost ke saath, dushman ki kya zarorat hai?” To all the village women who welcomed this strange girl into their homes and showed her what real strength and empowerment look like. Thank you for teaching me that money is of little importance “siraf dil bada hona chaiyye.” PS: Mom and Dad if you are reading this, this does not mean that your naive and innocent little girl is letting her guard down. You raised her with a smart head on her shoulders and this 3 week experience has made her even wiser. More than just personally, this internship has given me the professional opportunity to delve into the CSR field where I am able to apply analytical thinking and problem solving skills everyday. I have learned that not everything can be a clean Microsoft Word written report and that sometimes you have to get your hands dirty and dig and search to find the real solutions.