People’s descriptions are incomplete. There are so many things that people often skip telling, not because they want to hide them on purpose ( many actually do) but because they want to think that they never actually went through all that. What we see and hear about people’s adventures are sometimes, if not always incomplete. Take for example the whole Grad-studies-in-US thing (I choose US here since that is what I chose in life too). Columns after columns tell you that it is a life-changing experience filled with global diversity, excellent infrastructure, a chance to live like never before and excellent photos in some of the most talked and seen-in-movies places ( like Las Vegas, LA , Grand Canyon) of people and seniors who went there creates a make-believe world where the admit is the last hurdle one has to cross. Once admitted by a top notch university, life is just a luxurious ride to the most magnificent destinations and a highly paid job with all the possible luxuries is just a few years away. Cut to reality. It is far from all that.
Once you are through the US-visa-interview experience with/without a pink slip, and have finally booked your tickets, that’s when you actually say good-bye to your comfortable ultra-urban, dream-like, dad-mum supported life and enter reality. From finding non-bed-bug/ cockroach infested apartments with decent insulation to finding livable room-mates, everything is just wholly your luck. Don’t count old childhood friends turning out to be best people to live with, infact Ive experienced some best friendships turn sour just because you decide to live with them. I know people who choose not to live with their friends because they wouldn’t want to end up in a sticky situation and stop being friends with them. Classes are hectic and tough (atleast where I study and for me…I’m not possessed with extra high number of Grey cells like a few lucky ones) and as mid-sems and finals approach it gets progressively worse. It is really difficult to make those awesome road trips, again I speak for myself since I’m doing a doctorate and a deadline of the next group meeting always hangs on my head killing my chances of getting away for sometime. I do go out and have a good time, but it is few and far in between. Fellow Indians are not always the most helpful ( I think the good ones here are as rare as finding Belgian pink diamonds) and sometimes they stress you out more than anything else. Professors are tough and tricky and job hunts intense and scary. So really, its not the joy-ride that everyone projects. Now now, Im not saying that its a bad idea to come here or that I’m having a horrible time, all I’m saying is, it is a two-sided coin. People who come with dreamy expectations are often crestfallen and so shocked that they are unable to cope with reality. It is definitely one of the most exhilarating experiences that one might have in their lives, but one has to be mentally prepared to deal with all the roadblocks which everyone does eventually face.
Of course some people dont have to experience all this. If you are lucky, and I pray you should, you wont have to. Even if you do and survive, it will only make you stronger and mature. But all I’m doing in gently reminding, there is the great, there is the good and there is the bad and ugly. I guess its a combination of all this which makes it so awesome an experience. I survived my ordeal of bed-bugs, horrible roommates, most taxing coursework ever, slew of exams, bad food, horrible winter, friends turning traitors- all of this at the same time and turned out stronger and happier on the other side. I didnt have the joyride of making so many trips, living with family-like room-mates or getting straight A’s ever so easily. But I experienced something totally different and unexpected – Life. And its only made me happier with what I have today. 😀
PS: Im waiting for the movie ‘Social Networking’. Sounds real fun. But I know I’ll be dragged to Endhiran and made to sit through it (though I’m bargaining for you-watch-Endhiran-and-I-watch-Anjaana-Anjaani). Please Aishwarya Rai, for once in your life I hope you did something watchable. Though in all probability you havent. Anways, Rajnikanth never lets you down! So yoyo!