A year in AUT


A year ago, I was in Mumbai working 9 hours a day and secretly trying to get my visa sanctioned. I had kept my Masters’ plans secret from my colleagues. I would frequently call my brother whenever I needed some advice about my visa or about my job.

No one really tells you how hard it is to live away from your family. It is harder still to live without home-cooked food. It is hardest when there is no dog happily running around when I return home. I have weird priorities.

My friends from India do not share the same time with me. They are lagging behind 8 hours. If I need advice from my friends, I would get a reply from them 4 hours after my message. One of my friends moved to Germany now which lags behind 12 hours so basically I would wake up when she sleeps. I slowly stopped asking for advice and used my instincts. If I am confused, I toss a coin to decide.

I cannot summarize the last 9 university months in one sentence. In fact, I have been writing this post for the last 2 weeks and every draft I wrote was unsatisfactory. My drafts were mechanical, emotionless and not me. I had to sit and shovel the feelings out of my chest so my feelings can guide the words flow into this post. I should thank one of my university staff for that shovel.

I am competing for an award in my university. The final step to submit my award application is a personal essay to the university staff member. I have to write an essay about my feelings. It ought to be easy considering I have a personal blog right?

When I started in university, I was fresh off a content writing position in India. I was trying to transition back to engineering again. I saw my university’s monthly magazine and I said to my friend “I will submit an article in here”. I never submitted any article and forgot about it. In October I read the year’s final magazine again. I regretted never submitting any article.

I was also happy that I did not submit any article, I was no longer a content writer. My writings were academic focused and maybe no longer suited for magazines. My transition was complete.

Regarding my award application, all my essay drafts were sent back for revisions. She said my essays did not have feelings, they were similar to academic writings. She made me stop and think, think carefully about what my university months meant to me. Without her push, this post would have stayed in my drafts.

I did a lot of things in my university. I don’t want to list them, I want to relive them as I write the words here. I don’t know when I will resume my university for Ph.D. yet. At the moment, the nine months of university is what I have for certain.

I lived in two different houses while I studied. I loved both of the houses for different reasons. One house was near to sea face and my current house allows me to bike to my university. I made some great friends in my previous house, one of them recently sent me a postcard. The simple 3 lines on the postcard gave me immense happiness. I have to send her a postcard back soon.

I can’t talk about the AUT Debating Society enough. They took me along with them to my first roadtrip to Hamilton. I enjoyed the debating weekend getaway, the location and it took some time but I loved the people I met. On regular university days, every Tuesday I would be debating with them, making arguments and high-fiving my teammates. The funniest thing I have ever heard my teammate say during a debate was ‘Spiritual Porn’. The argument used will always be funny.

Recently, I volunteered for a medical technology event. It was not my first volunteering and it will not be my last. During the volunteering, I felt a surge of pride when people appreciated the exhibits. I should have clicked photos of kids reacting to the exhibits. The kids had a curiosity which made them keep exploring. The event was exhilarating and it gave me an excuse to cycle along the waterfront. I was as excited about these things as a 8 year old would be.

I got lost on so many days here. If I don’t have my phone then without maps I would also be geographically lost. I kept looking for a replacement home. I understand my immense involvement in a church now. They are a bunch of great people but with time I realized that I don’t really belong with them. I was trying too hard. Luckily, I found a good replacement home. A entire community of people who want to do good, and they accepted me into their homes with open arms. They called me ‘fam’, family for short. I can’t wait for their wedding in December.

It is not easy to live in a new country. It is easier to stay with other Indians because it is familiar and comfortable. I never fit in with them either. So I never waited for anyone. I wanted to watch a movie, I watched it. I wanted to eat a pizza, I ate it. I wanted to go to a party, I went. I never waited for anyone, I couldn’t possibly call my best friends from India here.

The year in Auckland, 9 months with AUT was a promiscuous mixture. Some days I went outside the house with ambition, some days I just closed my eyes and slept again. The 9 months are no less symbolic than childbirth for me. I feel independent, optimistic and ready for whatever comes my way and I have come a long way from where I started.

If we are having coffee: Some Reminders


If we are having coffee(or tea), I would tell you that something happened that made me want to take writing seriously again.

If we do have coffee, I would also tell you that this is my first #weekendcoffeeshare post. I always loved this idea, I tried it in real life too, however I failed to keep up with half of it. I don’t know if I will be able to do this for long either.

It has been rough couple of days. No actually, it has been a rough couple of months. There was no particular reason, there were many of them. So while studying and speaking to a dear friend of mine something unlocked.

I told her to grow up, I told her to have patience and learn how to deal with things happening because of the wishes she is taking. I told her to take care of her loved ones first before she breaks down. And the reason is not so noble: I told her that she can’t take care of her loved ones when she is the one who needs help.

I don’t remember where I read this. I must have because I picked it up, adopted it without breaking a sweat and now I realize that I have been doing this for so long it is who I am. So I opened up ‘Pocket’ to try find where I read it, it is my treasure of the posts I have loved ever since I started blogging.

I forgot what it was like to feel through reading words. I read one and then I read many. I read this post, one which beautifully described the experience of having a dog: it made me laugh and sad, it made me miss my dog.

Then this post, one where she spoke about her familiarity with funerals and death of David Bowie and I felt her pain.

I wept, I laughed, I ached and I smiled amidst tears. Then I wept even more when I read this post, something that I always do when I read this, one where a other speaks about her dying daughter, I never found out what happened afterwards, I don’t have the courage to. I laughed at this guy’s take on Indian culture, on this blogger’s collection of Cat quotes, this post about depression, this post about childhood & identity, on this absolutely beautiful tale about Guitar and music. No wonder I tried to pick up a guitar afterwards and I am still trying.

If we are having coffee, then I think I must have mentioned all of this before too. I don’t care, I cherish the reminders. I just know that in the space and time I forgot how or what blogging was. I struggled with closing this blog, tried and somehow still struggling.

I am looking for a new place, or found it, giving exams and so much more. I didn’t sleep two days in a row, studied and realized that I still have a long way to go in studies. This week reflected on mostly my studies.

If we were to have coffee(virtually again) I would love that. I know it is not the way #weekendcoffeeshare posts are written but this is my take on it.