The Madding Crowd

Moving to a new country is very stressful. If you are an Indian, then it will freak you out. That is, irrespective of the language, of how good the people are, or how digestible the food is. I spent the first five days trying to immerse myself in work to prevent the occasional panic attacks. Sure, you are getting enough money (tax free). You have a command over the language that dazzles other international students. You manage to figure out the public transport system within a day and take advantage of the free transport pass the university provides. But then, you approach a familiar face, and it speaks to you in an unhindered American/Canadian accent, and you feel, “Hell, these aren’t my people.”

Academia is different. There are lots of people there, and no one quite feels at home. As they say, if everyone’s special, then no one is. You blend into the atmosphere much like a chameleon into a tree. Thanks to the efforts of a select few, we get assimilated into the society, irrespective of culture or language. And, well, the university has the perpetual feel of being soaked in high school culture. Immature? Yes. Do I like it? Sure! Makes me feel more important.

After I left R-land, I picked up this habit of comparing everything to my memories of the old Insti. “I expect the walk to the market is about as far as the walk from my room to the mess.” “Back in the Insti, we used to have the parantha prepared so and so…” “The coffee in the Nescafe cost half as much as it costs here.” The good and the bad, the profound and the trivial. It seemed so natural to have things like that. Now, the same argument can be extended to my stay in the West. Everything seems so complicated. There are a million little things we have to keep in mind, and none of them seemed to matter in India. Even the less bearable points of your home seem to be second nature. How many times have we eaten in others’ messes without registering. Or how many free bus rides have you had?

Strangely enough (or maybe very predictably), there is a huge Asian population in the university. CanIndians are a dime a dozen, but they remain apart. And, of course, the Far East has reached far here. There is a crowd on campus that I could not find in the city. It may not be the old crowd of familiar faces and tongues, but as it flows past me, I can’t help but be reminded of home.

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8 thoughts on “The Madding Crowd

  1. Shrey says:

    Alright, but how are the ladies?

  2. Murty says:

    Well done, Bang Bang. Cutting to the chase, anyone even 30% of the way to Cobie Smulders?

  3. Chronoz says:

    “You have a command over the language that dazzles other international students.” – I’d safely assume it dazzles the locals too πŸ˜›

    @Bang & Moor: It’s rapu da.. He’d soon enough post about Fourier Transforms in neural networks than the fairer sex.

  4. Raghav says:

    As bang-bang and moor-tha have put it, it certainly must be a welcome change to be in an insti that renders the natural dichotomy among the human race meaningful (and not-so-futile) πŸ˜›
    Ah, and as for the ‘paranthas are … in my previous insti’, I am sure you’d entise us with the vivid discription of luscious Canadian Cuisine when you meet us next.
    Surely, taking the Best of Both Worlds must be awesome! πŸ™‚

  5. sushant says:

    nice one shreyas…
    i thought bang bang would be lest despo after hearing some of the updates i have about him from sunki….
    anyways rapu, fine to see you and all that, has someone approached you, in your own words, to make a display of your chivalry?
    that surely has to be the biggest question to answer…

  6. Arun says:

    While you are away getting a taste of the Wild Wild West, the East Lands are certainly poorer without you. We shall miss you, but I am sure you’ll start enjoying life in Canada soon enough.

  7. Anirudh says:

    Seriously, look at the brighter comparisons, such as the fairer sex. And I second Shreyas in most of what he said…
    And when you talk of high-school culture, theirs or ours?

  8. Cheshire Cat says:

    That last line is very telling you know. And the one about the comparisons… πŸ™‚

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