I applied for a scholarship in India in December 2009 and at the time when I totally forgot about it and at the time I least expect anything out of it, I got a call from the Indian Embassy that I got a scholarship for an MBA Program in Mysore University. I did not know anything about that university. I have never heard of it because when I applied, I put my preferred location in Pune, but it did not go through. Wherever it was, I was happy for thousands of reasons but eventually when I ended the program, I was happy about different things instead of the thousands of reasons that I had in the beginning of the journey. I came for a person, but I left with so many other people. Life is really mysterious.
However, I embark on this journey in August 2010. I did not know what lay ahead. I just jumped. I brought my mom with all the financial limitation I had (I was too stubborn to have a back up). Thatha came along to drop us off. The only things I had was “gut” and “faith” that I won’t fall. And by the Grace of God, I was right, The Lord did not let me fall and instead my gut becomes stronger. I remember a friend whom before I came to Afghanistan had said “If you are a man, I’m sure you have steel balls” (pardon me for the language). Only God knows how He/She changed me from a Lily-Liver to Steel-Balls ;)
I reached Mysore right on my birthday in 2010. I started my birthday morning in Bangalore and end my birthday evening in Mysore in one of the existing student’s house. My feelings were mixed up that time. A lot of things, a lot of plan, a lot of fear, a lot of doubts, at the same time a lot of excitement to be back in India for my own reason.
We found a house for rent within 3 days. I considered that lucky as many other students who came from abroad could not manage to find a good house to rent that soon. The house that we got was simple yet clean, with full access to sunlight and fresh air, and the most important of all is that the owner was God sent. He was an old man in his early 60s staying with his wife, very strict man but yet gentle, just, and friendly. Even though we are just tenants in their house, they behaved very decent to us. That made the stay better.
However, thatha did not stay for long. He was there for one month. Poor him. He used to stay in a spacious house and staying in our small rented house must make him uncomfortable, but he did not complain. He never did. The tragic part about his leaving was that I never know that when I escort him to the car that took him to Bangalore Airport would be the last time I saw him walking and dressed as a perfect gentleman with his always-polished black leather shoes, well-ironed pants and shirt, a ring on his ring finger engraved with his initial “R” and a chain that bore the same initial. He said “bye” from the car, but he did not smile. I saw tense in his face. That time I did not know but now I know why (it’s another story that I would share later).
Since thatha left, I and mom found a bit difficulties to live without his presence. Without him sitting in a place and smoke, or read newspaper, or read any book that he found interesting with his sudden comments about ANY thing that came in his mind, his witty jokes, the house seemed quiet and empty. But eventually we managed.
We had good neighbors especially the family who stayed on the left side of our house, even though there are two neighbors who are too kinky to handle though. The lady of the house on our left side has become mom’s best friend and her teenage kids have become like brothers to me and her husband is also very helpful regarding certain legal issue since he is a lawyer. Having such blessing even though being in a foreign country made us feel at home. Those people substitute the family that we left behind in our own home.
With the stipend that I got from the Indian government, I had to learn to allocate the fund accordingly – house rent, electricity, water, and internet bills, food provision, my stationery, and once in a while some treats for us. In the beginning, there was a tight knot in my stomach each time I thought about “Whether I am able to do it or not” because with my limited fund, I could not just spend the way I used to do when I still had a job back there in my own country. Other reasons were – First, that was the first time I handled the whole household budget where I am completely in charge of the money out-flow; Second, mom was confused handling the different currency (she even found difficulties in converting let alone managing it) which means I could not expect her to back me up in managing the money.
Some of my friends might think that I was a stingy who did not want to do Girl Shopping or spend some amount for fun or treats. I was not stingy. I simply had other bigger responsibilities in my hands and shoulders.
Things were totally different. I was in a foreign country, I could not work as it was part of the scholarship agreement, my source of income was zero, I have to take care of my mom (for some reason I can’t leave her back), and at the same time I have to study. All these things came into my mind and I did not know whether I could manage or not, but strangely by the Grace of God I went through it. If I look back now, I felt that I was like a single mother who had to take the role of Father and Mother in a Nowhere Country with a baby (baby = mom at that time, LOL). I really had great time, great stay, and great lessons there.
It was marvelous bittersweet two-year journey.
I will share other faces of my life in India on the up-coming posts...
Have a great day folks... Be blessed always!