Hello everyone, Now that I’m fully integrated into school mode, have a set routine down, and weeks are flying by like crazy, I wanted to use this post to share my winter break trip to India. Basically, this was my first trip back in 6 years! I couldn’t believe how much the place has changed. So many more paved roads, so many more stop lights, and actual lines painted for lanes. Now, none of this means traffic is any better, or that drivers mind the lanes…but it was still very cool to see the progress. This was a very special and unique trip for my family, because it was mostly spiritual in nature. Rather than staying with and visiting a lot of family like we normally do, we left our suitcases with one of my aunts, and then traveled all over the southern part of India. In describing this trip to my friends, I coined the term “Temple Hopping.” For most of the trip, we kept home base as Madhurai (the hotel we were staying at had a lot of tourists) and took day trips (a few night ones too ) to all the temples we wanted to visit. I can safely say I’ve seen enough temples for a lifetime…One really special part of the trip for me was seeing my father’s hometown, Manamadhurai. I was able to see the house he grew up in (another famly lives there now), and meet one of his good friends from high school. Everyone was so friendly, and surprisingly knew my dad/his family despite not seeing him in so long! It’s crazy how small a big world can feel sometimes. Since my grandfather was the vice principal of the high school in this town, many of the people we encountered during our day trip knew of my him and his family. It was a really amazing experience seeing my dad’s roots.
Other highlights of the trip included shopping in Bombay, cutting my hair off in Chennai, and visiting the IIT Madras campus. It was so cool to see a universally recognized/touted university in India, and note the differences and similarities between USC/other large schools here and IIT. Our family friend Pandu is a computer science professor at IIT, and he was kind enough to show us around. When I told him I would be taking a C++ class at school in the spring, he was kind enough to use his bomb faculty discount to buy me his favorite beginner C++ book. I have it with me now, and it’s been a great supplement to all the other course materials that I have. Overall, this trip was a cool one, It was a great chance for me to see new places in the motherland. I got a lot of great experiences, clothes, and memories that I won’t soon forget. I’m not sure when I will next venture back to India, so I am happy this trip covered so much ground for me, in a variety of ways.