The little successes

Caroline BrownUniversity of California, Berkeley

 

The TATA Social Internship has been an incredible learning experience. Here in Bengaluru I am surrounded by beautiful greenery, wonderful people, and boundless opportunity. I have struggled to find my place, both within the Titan campus and in the greater Bengaluru area, but with every more challenging struggle, I have found the successes that much more fulfilling.

The contradictions that make up everyday life here have been interesting for me to recognize and adapt to. Within the Titan campus, I never have to worry about not being fluent in Hindi or Kannada. Everyone here knows English, and can speak to me and to each other with ease. Meanwhile, just outside the campus confines and in my everyday non-work life, I have had to rely on what little Hindi I know and try to make it work, which has oftentimes led to miscommunications and frustration on both sides. However, little successes every day like communicating what I want for dinner, or successfully giving my auto driver directions, or even just buying bananas from a road side shop have felt like wins, and have increased my confidence in my own abilities to make my way through this new world.

In some ways, not much has changed from my life in California. I still have to work hard in my job and struggle to wake up before 9AM. But in other ways, everything is different. I have been unable to rely on my usual reactions to certain stimuli, like the honking of a car or the shaking of a head, and have had to adapt to new ways of moving around in the world, like not making my own food, or watching my driver weave through the Bengaluru traffic, a thrilling, but terrifying experience.

Finding pleasure in the small things, like finding a roof top cafe that sells AMAZING mango lassis near my house, or enjoying the unpredictable rain showers that pour down for 10 minutes before opening up to a beautiful blue sky has been a rewarding aspect of my time here. Every day feels like an adventure, sometimes challenging and frustrating, other times exciting and awe-inspiring. One thing I can say for certain is that no day in India is like the other, and every day I am learning and I am growing as a person and as a citizen of the world.