After living in the isolated foothills of the North Indian hills for eight years, returning home was truly an experience.
Sure, I used to return home for a month twice every year, but that was only for vacation. This time, I was back for one whole year.
The first month felt like just another vacation. Visiting relatives, sitting through repeated comments on how much weight I have lost and eating every single dish my mother and grandmother knew how to cook. After the month was over, however, I was still at home, instead of being at Woodstock School -- I realized that I would not be going back this time.
Adjusting to my new life was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. The busy life of Kathmandu is the polar opposite of the laid back and relaxed lifestyle of Mussoorie, a hill station in the state of Uttarakhand, India. And yet, what I had the most trouble adjusting to was the unregimented lifestyle of home as compared to the regulated and scheduled life I had at school. There, I knew what I would be doing every hour. I always had something to keep myself occupied with, whether it was attending classes, playing music with my band, or being with friends. Here, I had nothing but time that I did not know how to spend.
In those first few months, I noticed differences between Kathmandu and Mussoorie. And there were many. The tall trees and the fresh air of Mussoorie were replaced by grey buildings and pollution. The lack of people or vehicles on the streets was replaced by hour-long traffic jams and a stampede of people on the footpath. Motorcycles were swerving through the roads, maneuvering themselves between cars in such little space, I was amazed at how they managed not to crash into the cars. The familiar and friendly faces on every street were replaced by faces which did not look twice as I walked past; faces which did not care. It was certainly very difficult to adjust to my new life for the first few months.
Eventually, I started exploring the city that was my home. I roamed the streets of Basantapur and Patan, soaking in the cultural vibes it emitted, observing the intricate designs and sculptures in the architecture, like a fascinated tourist. I discovered countless new restaurants, certainly a change from the two restaurants we always visited in Mussoorie. I travelled the length of the city on pubic micro buses and safa tempos. I tried to experience everything I thought a local Nepali person would have experienced.
Only then did I realize the amount of traditional and cultural beauty that I was so privileged to live in the midst of.
Since I had lived in Mussoorie all my childhood, I grew comfortable with the environment there. I loved it there. When I moved back to Nepal, I initially refused to adapt to the change in environment, resulting in a difficult transition. Eventually, however, I accepted the fact that I was not going back anytime soon, and decided to get by with what I had. Only later though, did I realize that what I had is amazing.
The reason I am back in Nepal for a year is because I decided to take a gap year before heading off to further studies. At the beginning of this year, I had come to the conclusion that this was the worst decision I have ever made. Now, however, I think differently.
Rajaouria is an intern