Chandigarh Life: Laura Nwabia



"India is what we want it to be for us, no country is perfect so the best thing is to make the most out of any condition or place you find yourself in"








What brought me to India, you may ask. I came to India for an internship program through an organization called AIESEC which gives undergraduates and recent graduates the opportunity to acquire international working experience.

While  standing outside the airport with my big luggage, I was initially scared because I didn’t understand the language and not many Indians seemed to speak English and since I was not taking a flight, I had to take a metro bus to Chandigarh. Out of frustration, I got into a bus to Delhi instead of a straight bus from the airport to Chandigarh, and in Delhi I experienced a bigger frustration with my really big luggage (Lord knows why I packed all those stuff).

At a conference in Chandigarh
Black out in Chandigarh
I was dropped off at  Delhi bus stand still confused,   then I saw a police officer and I tried to speak with him. Luckily for me, he understood a bit of English and I could almost swear I heard angels sing “Halleluyah!”. While I was talking to the policeman, something strange happened. A group of people gathered around me and were staring at me like I was an alien. If I was not a Nigerian, I would have taken to the heels screaming! But I kept my cool and handled the situation. I realised my dreadlocks were a major attraction. There I was, feeling happy that I had found a police officer, not knowing the police man was trying to make money out of me. He called his friend and told me he would drop me at Chandigarh. As a Naija girl, I asked how much it would cost and the man said “6000 rupees ma’am” and I said there was no way in hell I was going to pay that amount to get to Chandigarh because my friend had already told me it was 350 rupees by bus.

In the club
The policeman then said “Special! Special! Ma’am!” And I said special my ass! And when they saw I was not smiling, I think they got scared and left in turns. So, in my confused and really sweaty state, I sat down on the pavement thinking of what next to do when a good Samaritan came along. The best thing about this good Samaritan was that he could speak English fluently and that moment again, I had another ‘Halleluyah’ moment. I explained my predicament to this young man and he helped me call the person responsible for my internship, after they finished talking for good 15minutes, he then helped me with my luggage and put me in the bus going to Chandigarh, he even paid my bus fare and gave me his card to call him when I get to my destination. Though I wasn’t sure if I was heading the right way, the young man kept saying “don’t worry, it’s ok”. I was still scared but coming from Nigeria, I took a chance.

After 7 hours’  drive with people staring at me as if I was an alien,  I got to Chandigarh and stopped at the right place (sector 17 bus stand), where I saw the Romanian friend of a friend of mine who used to be an intern in the same city. I was so glad to see a normal person, who related with me normally!

Though the AIESECERS wanted me to do a Home Stay (where one is required to stay with an Indian family for some days) I know it was all part of the integration process, I was so not interested because when I went to the Intern house I met other cool people from different countries and I felt more at home and comfortable there. So, I stayed there for two days and it was fun. After two days, the AIESECERS came to pick me from the Intern house and took me to where I was supposed to live, which was in sector 51 and closer to where I was going to be working .
I noticed the Indians who were AIESECERS acted normal and were mostly from rich homes, but all the Indian guys had one thing in common, they all wanted to have sex and were crazy about white women. As my friend from Brazil said, “Indian men are all over white girls like mosquitoes”. This seemed true because strangely enough, the mosquitoes were more interested in biting the white people.

Eclipse night

Where I lived

I got to my place of work and met other Indians who worked there, they were mostly girls and later on I got to understand why. Naturally in life, I already understood that “never show people how good you are, or else, they will either exploit you or plot your downfall” and thank God I knew this as this was how I survived for six months at my work place. I also got to realize that Indians worked so hard and got so little at the end of the month, little wonder most of them prefer to be expatriates, where they get better pay and treatment. Unfortunately not many of the interns knew what I knew so they were exploited, people like Chelsea form USA, Stephanie and Matt from Canada, Bibi from Brazil, Katy from Germany Dominika and Alicia from Poland. However, they all got frustrated and quit one after the other, while I was having fun and working at my own pace. At the end of the day only Dominika and I completed the internship as well as leaving the company on a good note.

During my 7 months stay in India, I worked as a freelance writer and got extra money to spend. Also, I got to travel to so many places and I can say that was the peak of my experience in India, because I love traveling a lot. Luckily for me, Chandigarh was a good location from which one could easily travel to other parts of India. I got to visit the golden temple in Amritsar, which was a beautiful experience, at night the temple looked like something from Walt Disney.
Shopping with friends at the Sector 22 market.

Agra

Sweets
I went rafting and did yoga with Chelsea in Rishekesh and that was my best trip ever because there were lots of foreigners there and I did not feel weird like I always did in Chandigarh, instead of being looked at like an alien, more people looked at me with admiration because of my dreads and there were lots of hippies there. After Rishekesh, I went to Agra, where I got to see Taj Mahal (the symbol of love) and it was a very beautiful sight inside and out. One thing that frustrated me in India was the way foreigners were exploited. They always wanted to make 100% profit from foreigners. The Indians got to pay 20 rupees to get into Taj Mahal while foreigners paid 750 rupees, imagine! When shopping it was the same thing.
Rafting in Rishikesh


Conference Facilitation team in Jaipur
Being a girl from Nigeria, I got street wise very quickly and got used to the environment. Moreover, what the Indians see on TV play a huge role in the way they behave, and owing to this, most of my white friends were harassed by some Indians because they believed they were loose people, who were only interested in sex.

Most of their women are very quiet and miserable, as most of them were victims of arranged marriages. Rumor had it that most of them committed suicide and there was a lake in Chandigarh known as ‘Sukna Lake’, where lovers who could not be together drowned themselves.
India has a very good economy but the problem affecting it is over population and corruption. The most annoying thing was that no one cared. If you are rich, you are rich and if you’re poor, you will remain poor and nothing could be done about it. Majority of the dark Indians were the poor ones who lived in the slum and were homeless.
As the months went by, I met a lot of people from different countries, Ukraine, Canada , USA, Mexico, Brazil, Poland, UK, Portugal, Mauritius, Hungary just to mention a few . One sad thing about an internship is that people come and go; the goodbyes were always the saddest part. However, I kept on traveling, I went to Jaipur as an international facilitator, I toured the city and it is a beautiful place. I went to Daramsala, Shimla , Ludiana and Monali which had other places to travel to in the city. One year is not enough to travel all over India, but I tried.
shopping in Shimla
Daramshala
Golden Temple, Amritsar
During my last week in India, my friends had a going away party for me and two of my friends Stephanie from Canada and Dodjin from the Netherlands. It was so sad; I could not believe I was going back home, but at the end of the day it was a wonderful experience. Two things I was going to miss in India were my friends and the trips.


Lastly, I got to realize that India is what we want it to be for us, no country is perfect so the best thing is to make the most out of any condition or place you find yourself in, which is what I did and that’s why I can say I had fun in India despite the country’s short comings.
Farewell dinner
Farewell Party
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Laura Nwabia was a Content Writing Intern with TechWorks India in Chandigarh. She studied English at the University of Lagos.

'Lara A

20 comments:

  1. This post is very inspiring...glad you made the best of it.love the pictures...love it

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  2. Lovely pictures, and nice to read about your experience.

    But I was a bit disappointed at the jumbled writing. I would've overlooked it, only to read she's an English graduate, and interned at a content firm. All the best.

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    Replies
    1. if you read closely, you'll notice they were obvious errors(typos) it should have been corrected though(LARA! I'LL BITE YOU:-P) and it will be. No need to question my being an English graduate and i was one of the best in the firm:)but thanks for the comment.
      Cheers!

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  3. It's hard to believe you're back in Nigeria. The time has flown. I remember when you first arrived in India and very much enjoyed your posts from there. You're right, no country is perfect - we make our experiences happen. I've visited India many times and could relate to so much of what you wrote. (My first trip I had flaming red hair and very pale skin. Yep, I was stared at - and, yep, coped with the rest - I have a great Drop Dead look! Time's faded the hair, the skin's still fair, and I so want to see the Taj again! Welcome Home! (Sorry to say, but I think it's easier to go than to return -experiences just don't translate and life's gone on while one's been gone.)

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  4. love the pictures. I admire how she settled in so fast. Naija no dey carry last!

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  5. Nice pictures and it looked like she had fun. I totally agree that we make the best of whatever condition we find ourselves.

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  7. Lovely narration..makes you want visit India

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  8. She sure knows how to have fun! Maybe not as much as Sisi Lara *side eye*

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  9. I'm thnkn wait a min,that's not Sisi Larah jor!!!
    Lol!
    Nice piece,makes me wanna visit!
    T.Notes

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  10. nice write-up!!

    I think I was in India for a few minutes.

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  11. i enjoyed her story. She fought through and stayed till the end. Determination..

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  12. Really lovely pictures. Seems like she had a lot of fun too.


    naijabankgirl.blogspot.com

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  13. Great post, even greater pictures. But confession, I lost concentration once I saw pics of gulab jamun (sweet honey balls) Yummmmmm....

    Okay, for dinner tonight, I will make chicken tikka marsala and buy some gulab jamun for desert...Its all your fault =)

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  14. i've been so sloppy with my blog rounds.First time here. amazing blog. i love Indian women. they are so pretty with their long hair all that amazing jewellery. i can stare at them all day.

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  15. i love your blog.. i am soo following you!

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  16. P.S.. There was an earlier comment about your writing... I don't get the "Disappointment" as Myne Whitman said.. we are not all perfect. Lahrah deserves credit for bringing us in her world, and definitely not criticism..SMH

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  17. Shimla is the queen of hill stations and offers you some amazing sights that can be a treat for your eyes.
    http://www.travelchacha.com/shimla_manali.htm

    ReplyDelete

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