Previous Episode: Idli Podi To IIT
The time finally came to go back home to America and I slowly packed my bags thinking about how far I had come in these past two months. I felt an odd sensation inside, as if I was leaving something behind. Three hours before my flight, I sat down looking around the tiny room. Memories of me first arriving at the room flooded my mind. Just two months ago I had walked in there, feeling like the four walls were closing in on me. Now, having to leave was strangely harder than arriving. I languidly dragged my suitcase out of my room and nostalgically closed the door behind me.
Twenty-one hours later, I took my first step into LAX airport and took a deep breath. I was greeted by the smell of warm coffee and the rushing crowd around me. I located my family in the crowd and they all rushed toward me covering me in hugs and kisses. My heart was soothed in joy from seeing all my loved ones.
The next day I dragged myself out of bed, my eyes sore from jet lag. I needed a distraction to keep me awake in order to adjust to the time change, so I decided to go to the mall. I parked and I walked past many stores until I reached Calvin Klein. Strolling through the aisles, everytime I found a shirt I liked, instinctively my eyes directed to the price, and everytime I put it back, converting it to rupees. I had a new lens when looking at the world. Leaving the mall empty handed I walked to the parking lot only to realize I couldn’t find my car. Suddenly, I remembered a popular belief in India that Parmeshwari Akka had taught me about. Whenever someone loses something in India they go and pray to Goddess Kali, asking for the safe return of their item. For me, I pressed the summon button on my phone and a sleek black car appeared in front of me. The rims clean and the hood so shiny I could see my reflection on it. The T symbol clearly stood out against the front of the car. Driving home there was no loud bus honk or crowded autos speeding through red lights. My surroundings felt uncomfortably silent around me as the car auto-piloted its way down the road, my mind slowly drifted. Suddenly, the auto-steer buzzed pulling my attention. Some would say it was programmed to do that, but only I understand that my Tesla was jealous and possessive, not willing to split my overall attention with my thoughts of India.
I faced many ups and down in the couple of months that I spent in India. If you thought this season was impactful, think again. Soon enough, you’ll learn how my decisions made others cry.