Comrades of the Internet! Hello. I’m sitting in the sweltering heat of Kolkata, India right now, almost lulling into a food coma thanks to the incredible food that I’ve been shamelessly gorging onto for the past few days. I’ve been travelling the past few days meeting with my extended family members-grandparents who won’t stop spoiling me, aunts/uncles who won’t stop joking around with (the awkward topic of) marriage/dating, cousins who won’t stop growing tall, and childhood chuddy buddies who I won’t stop staring at, for how much they haven’t changed. It’s overwhelming-this gush of pride because “Pari/Rimi(nicknames in Mumbai/Kolkata respectively) is going to be the first doctor in our family”. This profession is as much part of my identity now as being a granddaughter, a neice, a big sister and a NRI is. And that feels weird, the weight of it, the ease with which I am supposed to carry this “role”. After the initial wave of reminiscing and food(dunno when that wave is coming down) comes this phase when everyone starts mapping out how far I will be, exactly. I’m going to the University of Buffalo, NY for a three-year residency in Pediatrics. I couldn’t be happier about this match.(for my non-medical friends, you get a residency through something called a Match-it’s kinda sorta similar to an arranged marriage-both parties must like each other). The days leading up to Match week were pretty friggin nerve-wrecking, I’ll tell you that. After the initial wave of celebration came the realization that I’d have to make a new home, learn new ways (including this foreign concept called tax?!!), and form new relationships. And not to forget the cold. Oh the cold. I’ve had the extreme privilege of experiencing sub-zero temperatures during my interview trail, thanks to the polar vortex. That’s going to be my life for the next three years! I’m destined for extreme weather boo (super hot in Doha, super cold from now on). I’d also have to deal with all these adult things like getting a new bank account, and a car lease and getting apartment-approved. Yeah being completely independent is kinda daunting Aru DUMMY. But I guess this whole whirlwind of emotion is what describes the so-called “rite of passage” in life. After a few months, when I look back at this post, I’d be smirking at the old inexperienced Aru who can’t figure out maps for shite. I’d have figured out gourmet Indian cooking (Im practicing I promise). I guess I’d even have learnt how to change a tire. Ok, I’ll calm down. Baby steps. I’m not alone. Everyone in my class, from my buddiesfolyfe to all the other students graduating in my year will be experiencing a version of all of the above. People are going to be scattered. Promises to meet up will be made and hopefully kept. New friends and people will be made and dealt with(lol do I make it sound like a chore?). Homesickness will be added to the list of things I don’t quite know how to treat. But for now, I’m enjoying my kulfi and giving hugs and kisses(major jhappian and pappian) to everyone I love and value. And reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s “The Lowland”. She is an incredible writer. Check it!