Breaking Bangalore: A First Glimpse

I can tell I can smell flowers, then cooking, then unknown spices, then flowers, then coconut oil cooking, then tanduri chicken, then known spices,  then balsam hair oil, then flowers, then eucalyptus leaves then I’m in front of the gate of the housing complex where I’ll stay for the six coming months.

The first plane to take me half the way

The Emirate Airways flight landed at 9h00 a.m. Bangalore time on this sunny Sunday. This company really rocks and I appreciated the crew and the facilities provided. In short, not only I wasn’t bored during the flight but I didn’t even have to reach for any of my books, except sometimes The National Geographic guide of India given as a gift by my very one and only Leïchoune.

Which reminds me of my departing at Mohammed V airport: dad giving his two classic advices, mom crying, Leïchoune as well and Ti-Mi-Nou and Tijay being all manly and stuff and the rock of everyone. I was so silly to not expect any cries but just as I thought, I left with a bunch of blessings and warm overwhelming intentions that left me surprised until the first check of the airport. There, I realized I was actually still able to feel my parents’ embrace and Leïchoune’s hug. Even Tijay’s rough fist-to-fist shake was still noticeable on my fingers. I just wished then I could start writing to them straight away or be the one seeing them depart.

I knew coming dressed in blue will suit the general mood. This city is just as colourful as I like ti to be!

As I went out from the airport, I easily found M. Christopher, the warm and sympathetic coordinator appointed by EDULAB. It’s while speaking with him that I came to the conviction that though we’re different, we’re not so much in the core: M. Christopher was talkative, smiling and very welcoming. I could easily open up and speak up my mind. He showed me where I’m to live -which is an impressive accommodation that was much better than what I was expecting- and everything was already being taken care of even shopping! I really need to meet the person who so thoughtfully filled the appartment with the basic needs he/she knew I will have to get!

After that, I was too excited to relax and quickly welcomed the start of the orientation.

Two shots and still missed the monkey head of the great Hanuman! My Breakfast Table will soon be full of Hindu Gods. Namaste ji!

M. Christopher gave an interactive historical and political summary about India and Bangalore, indulging my questions through his speech and answering them without looking bothered at all. He spoke about many facts that I’ll get to discover and speak about in details soon enough, but what still rings in my head is his inspiring talk about the reason behind such international internships.

It all boils down to intra-cultural learning, or as some call it cross-cultural learning: you’ve been raised within a culture and I’ve been raised within a whole different one. Let’s experience each other’s culture, go and live abroad and try it out while keeping an open-mind, a non-judgmental attitude and a flexibility to adjust and fully try things in their own context. As a result of such an experience, you and I will see our perspectives widened, our thinking more coloured. You and I will be more understanding and more tolerant. You and I will take time to think about things and be able to really put ourselves in others’ shoes before speaking. You and I will promote international harmony, youth mobility and therefore global peace. It won’t be done in a matter of days or years. Important things take time to settle down and it’s slowly but surely the case here.

Christopher M.S.

International Cultural Alliance – India

Thinking about Christopher’s words, these words I’m used to hearing so much within my head, reading in several books and believing in, I find a fresh renewed meaning within every part. Finally, someone else is saying these words, believing in them and working for their fulfillment. Finally, these words come simple and heavy with significance from someone else. If it’s not a reason enough to persevere and spend time in internships and volunteering, then I believe you should take a cold bath and drink a garlic milkshake.

After the orientation, I went on a taxi tour in the city of Bangalore organized by Christopher. I took glimpses of the Oh! impressive Vidhana Soudha Parlement, the Bangalore estate building and the numerous little colourful temples along the way. I got to walk in the Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens and I think I can say from now it’s my favorite place by far. The Bull Temple was one magnificent little wonder and though Christopher and the local guide spoke exhaustively about it, I think I’ll save all the valuable information and my impressions for another article after another visit.

At a certain point, as Christopher was describing the places around, I fell asleep and woke up suddenly at his smiling tone. Although I’d have loved to try out my first Indian meal with such a warm company, I was way too sleepy to even think about walking on my feet.

By the time I went back home, I fell asleep within seconds and didn’t wake up until 4 hours later.

Now, I’ll have to deal with the jet lag and writing instead of seeking Morphée is just like listening to Eminem to be lulled back to sleep. It just doesn’t make any sense anymore now. But then again, I promised I’ll keep my Breakfat Table always full and ready for my friends, even if it’s two words or few glimpses.

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