Sherlin Nair is a young woman I’ve known for several years now. Meeting her is always a delight – she’s extremely bright and witty and fun to be around.
This is how Sherlin describes herself : A back-to-school student at NYU in workplace learning & development, who loves mindful ramblings and rants, and who wouldn’t mind learning till death does her apart!
Sherlin, as you will see, has an effortless style of writing but (according to me) doesn’t write and publish enough! So I’m hoping that she will agree to write regularly for Everyday Gyaan!
Meanwhile, do read this post of hers in which she shares about her recent transition from India to New York.
When I left home for NY last year, it was with a very heavy heart. It meant saying good-bye to people whom I had grown to love and cherish; to the familiarity of every lane and by-lane that had circled my life until then; to the church, the schools and colleges, the shops, all of which had found a way to serve me at various levels and at different points in time. Above all, it meant bidding farewell to home – a place where I had learned to grow.
New York was daunting in every conceivable way. One of the first things I heard was an African-American yelling, “Stupid, White people” and immediately I could feel a tensed silence setting in. A silence so powerful, it made me shiver. Getting through the subways was no meagre task – it was literally a city functioning under the city. There was something incredibly painful and annoying about everything being so perfect, systematic and methodical.
The winter cold made no effort to make things right. Seeing my fingers turn blue to touching my nose constantly to check if it was still there as the cold had left my senses numb, became a winter routine. And if that wasn’t enough, people rolled their eyes here all the time. They rolled them if you stood too close; they rolled them if you walked at sub-par speed because they believed in walking at lightning speed; they rolled them for something and then they rolled them for nothing because they had gotten so used to rolling them. Just when you think you’ve seen the worst, the professor sends an email saying that she does not understand the format used to write the term papers and would like it re-done (that’s another 40 pages all over again! Thankfully, the magic worked then on).
New York is funny too. It would be perfectly normal to see someone wearing shorts with spikes strategically placed on his behind so that when he sits, it offers a comfortable seat for his assets. Equally normal would be to see students stripping down to bare essentials and running around the park for no significant reason. So it would be to see lovers making out anywhere when they find themselves in an exceptionally generous mood (but what is not normal is to maintain a poker face and pretend it’s not tickling your Indian, prudish sensibilities one bit).
But most of all, New York is inspiring. I have come to believe that if rainbow was a city, then New York would be its capital. People of every skin colour, every talent, every temperament, every obsession, and every aspiration can be found here. And for this very reason, there is a reason to be inspired here every day.
After months of being disgruntled and cold about moving to a new place when I wasn’t ready, April 2011 brought in the rains and with it a brand new desire to live my new life. A particular class had just exposed me to something I had never thought about. We were asked to narrate a weakness we were all dealing with at that point in time. What started as a random discussion topic turned heartfelt and moving. As tears rolled down people’s cheeks, they spoke of their families whom they had left in faraway places, they spoke about losing their moms or dads to diseases, they spoke about their childhood dreams at home and their favourite activities growing up, they spoke about their dreams and hopes of uniting once again with their families, and they spoke about love and living in freedom. These were confessions pouring out of students of every colour. I walked out of the class, dazed at the realization that despite our superficial differences, we all wanted the same things. At that moment, joy, pain, sadness, longing, hopes and dreams, seemed to speak the same language and we understood each other perfectly. For once, it didn’t matter that I didn’t roll my R’s enough when I spoke. On this particular day, I found myself going down on my knees when I returned home and for the very first time mouthing the words – “Thank you”!
New York is home now. It is becoming a place where I’m learning to grow all over again.
~ Sherlin Nair
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