What kind of life do you think an international student has in an alien country?
What thoughts does such a student keep pondering upon in his/her mind?
What exotic level of enjoyment do you think the student has?
What types of difficulties does a student face when he/she is away from home, away from family?
Oh wait, I don’t really know what background you belong to, or which society you come from,
But if you belong to India and a typical Indian middle-class family, and you have someone from your family or friend circle studying abroad, in the United States or the United Kingdom, this is a must read for you.
“A wanderer in the streets at 10 P.M. in the night, going back to her apartment after attending a conference at the Bush Library Conference Centre. Her apartment was half hour walk away from this place. A Friday night, and typically no on-campus buses available. On her way back, to her right, she sees a drunk guy puking. She walks faster towards her destination to avoid any mishap. It had been twenty minutes since she was walking, when she realized she was on the wrong path. She tried to figure out the place she was at, although it seemed familiar to her, it wasn’t so acquainted that she could figure out her way home. Irony, the place she called home now was her apartment at 723 George Avenue, College Station, which was continents beyond the place that truly was her home. It was middle of a Friday night(meant for parties), beginning of the month of October(chilly cold), and she was lost. You know how either the mobile runs out of charge or google maps decides to not cooperate at such times. For her, it was the latter. “
For every single soul, who criticizes a student living alone, away from home, you better watch out your own life first.
If she is the one who is out of her home, late on a Friday night, partying, she is also the one who has to wake up in the morning to clean her washroom for the week.
If she is the one who is going for a sleepover to her friends’ place for a night, she is also the one who has to prepare food and then leave her place so that when she comes back tired, she has food to eat.
If she is the one who shops from branded stores and wears a Fossil watch, she is also the one who has to take care she doesn’t drain the hard earned earns of her parents.
If she is the one who eats lips smacking dishes out of her house thrice a week, she is the one who has to take care she doesn’t gain too much weight and ruin her health.
If she is the one who is making friends from all across the world and probably living the best four years of her life, she is the one who is struggling to make true friends who don’t take advantage of her.
If she is the one who has developed an American accent now, she is also the one who feared to speak to any American in her Indian accent, lest they would not understand her or make fun of her.
If she is the one who says thank you to the waiter in a restaurant in India, and you think she’s being fake, it is because she has learnt there should be dignity of labor.
If she is the one who goes out on the streets late at night confidently in an alien world, she is also the one who almost was running and could hear her heart beating so loud out of fear, when she was out of her place for the first time at two in the night.
If you think she’s a spoilt brat because she’s roaming around with guy friends at two on a Saturday night,
If you think she’s going to let her father down because she’s failed a class,
If you think she’s wasting her dad’s hard earned earns by paying $10 to enter a club,
If you think she’s going to have a boyfriend and go against her family in the coming years,
If you think she’s having the time of her life just because that’s what Facebook shows,
If you think her life is super easy and she only has to wash a spoon and a plate twice a day,
If you think she has access to YouTube and it’s so easy to learn to cook by looking up online these days,
Let me clear one thing, today.
YouTube doesn’t say that if you prepare chapattis on a pan kept on a low flame, the chapattis would turn out to be hard and inedible. If you still think that she can throw away those chapattis and prepare new ones on a high flame so that they aren’t hard, let me remind you she doesn’t have the whole day to cook.
Facebook shows all the checkins and pictures of events she’s been to, but it doesn’t show that she had to come back home tired and clean her room to sleep so that she could wake up for her 8 A.M. class the next morning.
Stop Judging. Just stop that. Stop framing images and notions of a life you don’t live.
I’m not boasting about how tough a life is for a person living abroad, or maybe how tough life is for me,
I just imply that no one understands what this life is like even though you’re in close proximity with it or have a constant second hand experience of it, until you’ve lived it.
I’m neither saying that you will not be able to survive or enjoy such a life, nor saying that my life is all dull and full of difficulties.
I just mean to convey that you know parts of my life. You don’t know my life.
It’s only your father and your mother who interpret you’re having a hard time when they hear you breathing hard over the phone while walking on a road at midnight. Others judge you for being out so late(especially a girl).
Even though the society here allows me to do various things that India doesn’t, I know my limits.
Even though I am given much freedom that I would have been given had I stayed in India, I will not exploit that.
Even though criticisms are judgments from people close to me and my bestfriends are going to flood my life once I go back to India, I’ll make sure those criticisms hit them back as a boomerang when I succeed.
Even if I fail today, I will succeed tomorrow.
Even though I am a girl, I will be independent tomorrow.
And that, my friend, will be your answer.
Because, Life Is After All Beautiful.