Strangers from Hale 

I decided to talk to a stranger with a different culture than mine. The place where I thought would be perfect to meet a total stranger is Hale library.  The student I had the pleasure to meet is Ritivik Mandala. He is a exchange student from Indian. His home town is Andra Pradesh (Hydehabad). I asked him the basic introduction, we introduced ourselves. He is a Senior majoring in Economics and this will be his last semester. I wanted to start off with a deep thought question but I thought that wasn’t personal, and I was really intrigued by him. I decided to just talk about anything he wanted to share with me. So this is Ritvik in a nutshell. He is from a hard working family, which consists of his dad and mother and younger brother. His father is a business man of poultry, and his mother is a housewife. His younger brother is studying abroad in Germany. One thing that came to my mind is how hard it must be being far away from his family. I am from Texas and I find it a bit hard at times, I asked him if the distance is a challenge for him. To my surprise he said never, he explained that he came for a purpose here to get education. And as a young child he was raised where education is first and you have to work hard to be successful in life. I thought that was very interesting as for my culture we are very family oriented, so it was great seeing a different perspective in life. He was really easy to talk to, he went off about how he doesn’t miss his family but he does miss the food. I thought that was so funny because he said “my family I can always video them, but the food I don’t know how to cook so I miss it more.” Our conversation was really intellectual and we talked about differences in culture in America and in India. One difference he mentioned was marriage. He said in India they have arranged marriages. His view on it was he thought it was great, it sounds bad but in reality they choose someone for you and you go and meet them and if you don’t connect with them or their parents reject you then you move on and eventually you’ll find someone you love. We had several opinions, and overall our conversation went well. I am usually not the type to  converse with someone I don’t know, so this challenge got  me a bit out of my comfort zone. Learning about someone else’s point of view and their struggles really opened my eyes that sometimes you have to keep trying hard when you feel like giving up because in the end everyone is trying find the pursuit of happiness. His motto of life really stuck with me and helped me strive to be the best I can be.

“In this generation its not easy, you have to think differently than others. You are not better than others, and nothing is handed to you so struggling and working hard for what you want is the best success in life.” – Ritvik Mandala

  Published in 01. Talking to Strangers