wait and see
We're on the brink. It's the moment right before we truly begin, the moment when anything is still a possibility. Right now, I have no clue what shape this trip will take--I am in the last few hours of oblivion. But with this temporary ignorance comes a unique excitement, because there's so much potential and nothing yet to hold it back. Everything seems to breathe possibility: the smooth, clean pages of my journal, which, now holding only the neat inscription of my name, will likely be full of lopsided, scribbled thoughts over the next three weeks. The slightly obnoxious gleam of my new, bright red sneakers, the canvas waiting to be worn and scuffed and dusty. And the people, too. Apart from one person, my peers on this trip, to be frank, are little more than strangers. I've had math class with one or two and a mutual club with another, but there's still so much I don't know about them. But as of right now, before we step down in India, there's nothing preventing me from thinking that I'll grow close and develop meaningful relationships with them all--and that's so exciting in itself.
Following this excitement closely though, is apprehension and, well, a little bit of fear. One such fear is that I will find India, the country to which I feel such a connection, the country of my parents and grandparents and all my ancestors, the country that I love so much, to be nothing more than a stranger, too. The more I think about it, the more likely it seems that this will be the case. I know that despite my annual trips to India, I see a very privileged sliver of the Indian population, and I think that in some ways, I will see a much more "real" India in the next three weeks. Which leads me to yet another apprehension: will I be able to respond appropriately and handle all the situations that we are forced to confront? Of course, I have no way to answer this question, so I suppose I can only try my best and wait and see.
As I sit in this aircraft, shooting hundreds of miles per hour towards so much unknown, what am I leaving behind? I'm leaving behind the superficial, and quite silly, worries that thoughts that so often plague my mind when I'm at home, whether that's Facebook likes or rumors and gossip. I'm leaving behind the habit of being preoccupied with other thoughts and digital devices that prevent me from truly living in the moment. I would like to say I'm leaving behind conventional ways of thinking and preconceived notions. This is obviously easier said than done (is it even possible to be completely done?), but after hearing numerous times from several people about how important it is to have an open mind, I think it's something I must make an effort to do. Perhaps a little more reluctantly, I am leaving behind the security of my home and my family, and, overall, the comfort of the known. But it seems a small sacrifice to make for all the opportunities I may be offered and all that I may gain in these next three weeks.
I've known about Niswarth for over 2 years, as my older brother, Armaan, participated in the trip two summers ago, and since then I've read countless blog posts and heard so many stories from him and his friends. So, as I sit here on flight 258, I can hardly believe that I'm about to begin my own experience and forge my own journey through the program. And despite my apprehensions and worries, I think I'm ready.