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by Mehran Kohli
(Mumbai, India)

My roommate hands me the kettle of whistling boiling water.
Measure approximately half a liter.
Pour into a plastic bowl filled with a tangled knot of Top Ramen.
Cover it with my Physics textbook.
Patiently wait.
After a while, my roommate murmurs, “5 minutes; check.”
Immediately uncover the bowl.
Add a few drops of extra spicy Indonesian Chilly sauce.

Voila! Within no time, my roommate and I find ourselves in the company of at least 10 people, who have run into my room, enticed by the aroma of the noodles: Each hustling to sponge off some of the chow, in order to avoid the unpalatable Sunday dinner at school.

This is how life is living in the Indus International School, a sequestered boarding school on the outskirts of Bangalore. Initially, I regretted my decision of migrating from the frenzied metro of Mumbai to the vast, remote, and seemingly bleak outskirts of Bangalore. Naturally, I missed the company of my most intimate friends, some of whom I had known for over a decade, and our recreations such as hopping trains and eating street food every other day. But before long, I realized that this was one of the best decisions of my life.

Even though I was devoid a city life, I became accustomed to living more independently amidst a potpourri of people, which has enriched my life incalculably. Small moments, such as playing Soccer every Sunday morning or getting tutored by a friend a night before the midterms, makes my peers in the boys dorm not just friends, but a family; one that is a confluence of members from various parts of the country and the world, who have taught me to distinguish this world in a new light.

This unity and harmony, has not only brought into us a determined resolve to bring about positive change, but has also led us to realize, that together as a global community, we can actually make a difference to the world. It has led us in doing things we individually could not have even fathomed, like conducting dental and eye camps for underprivileged orphans, or teaching English to more than a hundred 12 year olds to promote literacy.

I no longer see the world from the perspective I was raised in: the blinkered, myopic perspective of a ‘big city’ boy. I believe that I have grown as a person and every day spent here teaches me something new about the world, which helps me understand my role in the society. The very first paragraph depicts to most, just as a set of amateurishly penned directions for cooking ramen noodles, but it is not so. It is a recipe, indicative of the brotherhood and sense of community instilled in me by my school, as well as the independence and ability nurtured into me by this aforementioned community.

Unfortunately, in a few months, as my senior year culminates, most of my friends would be in colleges in different parts of the world, all pursuing dreams of their own. Wherever I end up, I hope to live in an atmosphere such as this, where I am a part of something unique: a place where I have the opportunity to build close relationships with people from different cultures and come to together to better the society we live in.

I believe that until now my world has been only confined to the boundaries of my school. I believe that in a larger community, I can experience and celebrate more diversity, tapping the indigenous resources and abilities of various cultures, to make a difference. I don’t believe I have a perfectly clear picture of what that world would look like, but I do have a journey towards it. A journey where I can expand my role as a human being through the experience of being a part of a closely-knit community.

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