by Elizabeth Shaw
High: There have been so many amazing things that have happened since my last post. I have to say one of the best though was a weekend trip a few of my friends on the program, my host brother and I took to Bangalore for a music festival called Emerge. The main acts were Alt-J and Rudimental. It was so much fun to be able to go see other parts of India and the music festival was amazing!! To get there I got to experience a sleeper bus which even though it is uncomfortable, freezing cold and you get tossed and turned with the motion of the bus so much fun. It sounds absolutely awful but the experience is one that I am so glad I have. At the music festival it was great watching as everyone got so into the artists and the songs being played. It started to rain while we were there which was completely unexpected and it took only about 1 minute to get completely soaked. But for me it just made the experience so much better. It was so much fun to get away for the weekend and experience other things in India. There is so much to do here and so much to see and I do not want to waste a single minute.
Low: While I have been here I have been trying so hard to take everything positively. Even if it was not something I particularly liked I have tried to find something I can learn or some way that I can grow so that I can focus on the positive. Because of this I am happy to say it took a bit of thought to think of a low to post. My program took everyone on a trip to Mumbai and while we were there we visited Dharavi which is the biggest slum in Asia. I really enjoyed the experience of going there and being able to learn about how other people live and how they make their livelihood, it is a low for me because it was challenging to decide how I felt about taking the trip there all together. I understand we were going there for an academic purpose and I think it did really help to give a better understanding of how the slum (and other slums) work but I still feel uncomfortable with simply taking a day to simply watch how poorer populations live. It is hard to decide whether it was okay that I was going there only really for my own benefit and not really to give anything back. This experience was not a low because I did not enjoy or appreciate the fact that I got to experience this but simply because it has been a challenge to decide how I feel about the experience.
Glitter: On to happier things, just last week here in India was the festival of Holi which is known as the festival of colors or the festival of love. During the festival you take colored powered and smear it all over who ever you want to. The festival is supposed to symbolize the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, and for many more days to come of laughter and forgiveness. For the festival my roommate and another person on the program decided to stay back in Mumbai and go to a holi festival called Holi Reloaded. It was the first holi I had ever experienced and it was so much fun. There was music playing, color, rain dancing and so many people just having a great time. By the end of the night we were all beautiful soaking wet rainbows of color.
Elizabeth is a Junior at Smith college. She is studying abroad in Pune, India during the Spring 2015 semester. She looks forward to learning the language and being able to learn and see as much of India as possible. While abroad she will be interning for an organization focused on public health and learning traditional painting. At Smith she is a Psychology major, an Exercise and Sports Studies minor and a Community Engagement and Social Change concentrator.