By Kushali Atukorale
Midsummer… Thousands of rickshaws... as many wandering cows
as there are people on the roads… Dust everywhere, at all times of the
day… Hot air… Garbage all over the place…
India made the dullest impression on me, bringing to mind the saying,
‘life is not a bed of roses,’ which in turn made me consider the
negative aspects as a challenge. I was determined to start a new life,
as a student of the University of Delhi for the next three years. It was
hard, yet interesting and fun, even with the heavy load of studies and
Getting into a reputed college was one of the hardest tasks, but I was
lucky enough to enter Lady Shri Ram College (LSR), which is known as one
of the best colleges in the Asia. In addition, the guys loved to hang
out with LSR girls since they were known as the ‘best among the rest’
and the guys never failed to speak highly of the girls from the
prestigious LSR. It was a tag that helped in tight corners!
As students, we were not spoon-fed and we had to find our own references
but sometimes we were lucky enough to get the class assignments as home
assignments – sometimes we just rewrote what was in the text books,
which ultimately ended with an astonished shout from lecturers and less
marks. As always, the endless comparison of marks and assignments took
place as well.
The first few months were the dullest as we all generally kept to
ourselves with just “hi,” “hey,” “how are you?” and “where are you
from?” doing the rounds. However, the Indian students never forgot to
give a helping hand when it came to the language barrier, experienced by
myself and the other foreign students.
Members of the faculty tended to teach in Hindi, forgetting the fact
that there were foreign students as well, which made us to shout, “We
The first three months were really hard when it came to purchasing goods
since no fruit and vegetable sellers were able to understand what I
really wanted so I ended up drawing the fruits and vegetables and
ultimately paid double the price since they knew I wasn’t Indian. All
that ended after I got the hang of the language.
The entire first year was spent getting to know each other and becoming
familiar with the seniors as well as with the places in college,
including the library. I saw the inside of the library only once in a
blue moon, when I went there to renew my library card and borrow books
when examinations loomed.
Thousands of tutorials were available but none of us would go through
them before the exams, since we were students who were happy with the
marks we obtained, high or low.
The second year was better as we knew each other and were involved in
many societies, which gave us the opportunity to be with the rest of the
college girls and to recognise our talents. One of the important events
that took place was the rock concert by Lucky Ali, although I was not
really fascinated since there was the language problem to deal with.
The month of March was the most vibrant, with the ‘Holly’ festival,
since it presented the opportunity of throwing colours at anyone. Red,
orange, green and yellow were the most important colours.
Kids would wait for this day and get ready with all kind of water
balloons, cut school and wait for pedestrians in order to attack. It
also gave students the chance to throw colours at the teachers they
loathed and no one could complain since it was the festival of colours.
My friends and I were always subject to these attacks and we would
return to our apartment boasting different shades, which would last for
The 15-day Autumn break October 1 to 15 gave me the opportunity to go
out of Delhi and have some fun, since Autumn is the best season to move
around in India.
Although the final year is known as the most important, we all were
involved in many activities during this time. Graduation Night was one
to remember, and we all dressed up in our best and most colourful sarees
with striking makeup.
My three years in India were amazing, although life in Delhi was awkward
at times since the language issue played a huge role. Many people would
throw stares and weird looks towards foreign students when we started to
communicate with the outsiders.
The studying and facing of such challenges made me more independent and
helped me learn how to face life alone without the help of the family.
At home, we have our parents to help us out but when you are a student
abroad, you have to watch out for yourself. It’s all about survival –
that was the best experience, apart from obtaining a degree.