Today is my last day in India. Tomorrow morning, I will be back in the US.
Of course, I feel a very deep sadness at having to leave India, but what I feel even more than that is a profound sense of gratitude. Since I arrived here in August, not a day has gone by where I haven’t stopped to think about how incredibly grateful I am to be here, doing the things I love and meeting people that have changed the shape of my world. So I wanted to take a moment to thank a few of the countless people that have made this year into the amazing experience it has been.
First and foremost, I want to thank the United States Department of State and Indian Government for creating and administering the Fulbright Program, and for choosing me to be a part of it. This year has been nothing short of life-altering, and I cannot adequately express my gratitude to you for making this experience possible for me.
To the staff at IIE: Cara Doble and others — Thank you for your help in all the initial legwork in getting ready to go to India. You really helped simplify what would have been a daunting process of visas and paperwork.
To the staff at United States India Educational Fund (USIEF): Vinita Tripathi, Neeraj Goswami, Adam Grotsky, Paromita Datta, and many others — Thank you for making my transition to India last August as seamless as possible, and thank you for your continued support throughout the year. You have all been incredibly warm and welcoming, and it has been wonderful to get to know you all during this year. Neeraj, thank you for always being on call and ready to help in any situation – I don’t know what I would have done without you those first weeks in Delhi.
To my Laj roommates, Devin, Brian, Sana, Nick, Jess, David and Eliza: Thank you for being the best roommates I could have ever hoped for. The amount I’ve enjoyed these days in India is in no small part due to each one of you being so absolutely awesome. I can’t express in words how much I have enjoyed sharing this year with you. (I want you to know that I have tried on three separate occasions to think of an appropriate t.w.s.s. joke to write here, and I just can’t think of one. I’m so sorry.)
To all the other Fulbrighters I’ve met here in India — Robin, Aditya, John, Amy, Cat, Victoria, Erica and so many others – Thank you for hosting me when I’ve come to your cities, for bringing good cheer through our apartment in Delhi, and for being awesome travel buddies. I feel so fortunate to have had such a wonderful and varied network of people to connect with as I explored the country. Thank you for all the wonderful conversation, your brilliant insights and perspective, and your general hilariousness and birthday pancakes (Robin).
To my music teacher, Gaurav Mazumar: Thank you for this wonderful and revealing year of training in Hindustani classical music. My understanding and appreciation of this incredible art has grown beyond measure, and just spending this time with the music itself has changed and affected me in ways that I couldn’t have comprehended a year ago. Thank you for your patience with me, and for always finding time for me, even in the busiest parts of your year. Your warmth and generosity has made all the difference. And to Nanditha, Gaurav’s wife: Thank you for being my mom-away-from-home! I can’t thank you enough for all your help and guidance and chai and conversation. It’s been so wonderful to be part of your lives this year, and I will miss all of you so much.
To the Delhi University Faculty of Music and Arts, and Anupam Mahajan, my advisor: Thank you for hosting me, for serving as the advisor for my project, and for offering me institutional support throughout this year in India.
To Lakshmi Pratury and the entire INK Team (Nina, Nikhil, Tariq, Sheena, Nandini and others): I am so honored to have been a 2011 INK Fellow! I was truly inspired by the whole experience of The INK Conference, and by the incredible people I’ve met through INK. Thank you so much for the huge amount of effort you’ve put into making this conference and program possible! And to all my fellow Fellows — it was an honor to get to know you — I am floored by each and every one of you, and your brilliance and passion inspires me beyond measure.
To George Mathew: I don’t even know where to begin thanking you. It’s been an absolute joy to work with you this year. I am so excited by your projects and your vision, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings!
To Sandeep Das and the HUM Ensemble: It has been absolutely amazing working with you! Writing for HUM has been revealing for me in so many ways, and I am really honored to be working with such incredible and versatile musicians.
To all the other wonderful musicians I’ve met this year – thank you for sharing your music with me. There so many of you that it would be impossible to name you all here, but each performance I’ve heard and each musician I’ve met has taught me volumes, and I am so grateful for that.
To Priya, Prateek, Rahela, Tarun, and my other friends and colleagues in Delhi: Thank you for all your help with everything, for introducing me to new and interesting places around Delhi, and for being such awesome people! It has been wonderful to spend time with you here in India, and I can’t wait to come back as soon as I possibly can and see you again!
To our maid, Anita: Even though I know she can’t read this, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank her for all she’s done for me this year. She is the primary reason I speak Hindi with any fluency, and she has given me so much insight into a part of India that I never would have been able to experience without her.
And last but definitely not least, thank you to my readers! I’ve never had a blog before, and knowing that you’ve been reading has helped me stay motivated about sharing and writing about my experiences here. I hope you’ve enjoyed these posts! Over the next few months, I will be finishing up some backdated posts that I haven’t had the time to write until now, but this will be the last entry in this blog from India itself. Thank you so much for reading!