The Monsoon Semester






I took two of my final exams today. One of my classes required a final presentation and research paper, which I can check off, too. Really, all there is left to the academic semester is one final exam on Monday morning. It will be for the “Medical Anthropology” class. It will also be my last undergraduate college exam ever.

After that, I will still have two and a half weeks before my flight out. Exams normally take place at times in the next two weeks. Given this schedule we were supposed to book flights after all exam dates, but mine worked out to be early. I want to have my finals completed and over with. I am looking forward to having time here without any weight of schoolwork, though there are paperwork and planning that should be done before I leave.

Mostly, I will have a crazy amount of free time. I thought about traveling to other parts of India in that time, like a number of my friends are. I had been wanting to visit places in the eastern state of West Bengal – the capital of Kolkata near Bangladesh, or Darjeeling in the mountains between Nepal and Bhutan. Another thought included other southern states – the backwaters in Kerala, or the rooted city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu.

It would have been cool to go on that famous train ride through tea country in Sri Lanka even, or to get a glimpse of one of the culturally extra-distinct states in the Northeast. In the end, I think I will stick around Hyderabad. It has been my kind host city, and I must have barely scratched the surface. I can spend quality time in the city with friends I have made here and have a couple smooth weeks before what might be a hectic return.

Charminar and the surrounding market, near the city center
Charminar and the surrounding market, near the city center

It might be premature to say, but I know there are aspects here that will tug at me as I think back and miss. The rickshaw rides I always talk about, and gate security guards in coats and rain caps are among these. Tandoori nights in the mess hall, and ventures to the canteens for afternoon/midnight snacks are among these. The back terrace when it rains, and the beautifully colored saris and kurtas at every turn are among these.

I still have time left, I know. The time here came and it will pass, like every other moment and period in our lives. Sometimes, it is a more vivid realization than at other times. That is not necessarily negative. Significant changes are inevitable after I leave, not least because the phase of being a college student will be over. Memories from the time here will be fond ones, persisting as more are made at different times in different places with different people.

Bazaar bookstores
Bazaar bookstores

It is not quite the end, but my guess is I will feel the same in three weeks. Because of all of what I will have experienced here, and because of all that I wanted but will not get to carry out in the next weeks, I hope to come back someday. It is a faraway someday, but this is the kind of impression the monsoon semester has left on me.