Hritika Chaturvedi, age 18 (alum)
I have moved to and from nine different residencies across the world due to my father’s occupation as a software engineer. As can be presumed, my travels have more or less shaped who I am. Having finally settled down in the past month, I recently had the opportunity to reflect on my experiences as an itinerant of sorts.
We used to belong to the humid months of India,
sitting in our Mumbai home, on marble tiles reminiscent of chocolate ganache.
The cotton candy man was well awaited;
we’d eat all three flavors, the sun’s rays penetrating the plastic wrap,
punctuating the crystals of sugar covering my lips.
Laughter flooded the room as beads of sweat descended our foreheads.
The sky smiled in pink, the clouds in orange.
The traffic on the main street became a background buzz.
We’d talk until the palm trees rustled to silence us and the wind tickled us to sleep.
The wind became stale as planes became the norm.
We traveled from palm trees to refreshing pines.
We’d meet my friend, Adjustment, every two or three years
as a new residency became a reality.
From the harsh winters of Stockholm to the sweet spring of Massachusetts,
my father’s occupation to thank.
My Indian culture had been set in stone, but
Cheetos dust replaced the sugar on my lips.
Today, we sit in uncertain stability, four years at the same address.
Suitcases stay in the garage, having withstood the test.
Friends aren’t of a temporary bond, with new memories forming in one institution at last.
Studies, sleep and stress have become large portions of the schedule.
It is only once in a while that I look up to notice the swaying palm trees.
Now of a different type, from different seeds, in a different land.
The sky still turns a tranquil pink, quickly becoming the day closer to the next deadline.
Passion, identity and growth have become the truth.
A sense of maturity has taken place,
as the laughter and home-cooked meals remain.
The talk is of a different kind and aspirations carry weight
It is a satisfying joy,
going tired to sleep.
One of the many things that have persisted is the wind tickling at my feet.