It’s been one month in India, yet I sense that I am still in the process of arriving here. Despite all I have seen – from the landmarks of Delhi, to the mountains of Uttarakhand, to the new city I’ll call home – despite the “settling in” I’ve done, despite the gradual adjustment to new expectations, and despite new faces becoming fast friends, I – and perhaps we – am still in flux. Each day is rich with newness. Each interaction with my new places and people is novel, full of opportunities to discover and decipher. While this newness does inspire seemingly endless doubt and self-questioning (my co-fellow Mrinal’s line of questioning mirrors mine quite well), it also inspires limitless dreaming. We are in a moment that another dear co-fellow, Ilana, might say is full of the “tension of possibility.” What comes next?
As I learn more about the successes and challenges of iMerit Technology Services, the social enterprise where I will be working, my mind races to the contributions I hope to make, the work teams I seek to join, and the mission I’m excited to support. As I walk along the sticky, humid streets of Kolkata, I mentally map the restaurants, landmarks, parks, and neighborhoods to explore. I make many lists. There is so much to do, to see. As I grow closer with my fellow Fellows, I make travel plans, both concrete and aspirational. As these dreams continue to unfold, in the tension before they become reality, I feel myself continuing to arrive. On the edge between my former life and now, the straggling bits of my mind and heart continue to join me in the present, some running ahead to try to see what my future in India holds.
Before I give in to the momentum pulling me forward, I pause. Before I finish arriving, and begin racing forward, I take a moment to look back. A rich, delightful three years in New York, led me to orientation in Delhi, to the mountains of Uttarakhand where we stayed in the bliss of the APV School. There, we sang and played with the bright school kids, learned about meditation, hiked up and down the beautiful Himalayas, and got to know each other in a world far away from what we had known in the past. Back in Delhi, we explored the city on a scavenger hunt, ultimately finding more than just jalebi and mosques. (Read Ilana’s orientation post for more.) Then, we ventured to our placement sites, flung all over the country, and began to settle in to new homes, routines, jobs, lives. And now we’re here, perched just after the conclusion of our first month, more aware of the things we’ve come here to learn about ourselves and the world. More aware of the countless things we could never expect. Bound by the tension of possibility of what is to come. Take a look!