A letter to you that envelops an experience.
Dear Reader, This is the first time that I have ever addressed you directly. I hope everything in your life is at least alright, if not absolutely amazing. You’ve been asking about my trip to New York University for quite some time now. My jet lag has kept me from writing to you until now. However, let me begin by telling you that my journey began long before I landed on JFK Airport. It began the day I received an email saying ‘CONGRATULATIONS’. A single word has never made me smile and cry at the same time before. The email left me ecstatic to know that I was going to go to NYU’s Steinhardt University. Little did I know how much I still had to do before I could even pack my bags to leave. Student visas, you see, are not the easiest things to acquire. They involve filling out multiple forms, waiting for a 2 minute visa interview for 5 hours at the US Consulate and much more. From then on everything gets relatively smoother.
New York City. Summer School. These weren’t just words anymore as I gulped down stale bread buttered with a coat of reality on the strenuous flight to JFK. I will still never get over saying that I lived in my own shared ‘dorm room’, in a ‘residence hall’ at the mere age of 16. Do not mistake my honesty for gloating. I just want to let you know how rewarding this journey was, and one can only understand why it was so rewarding if hey are aware of all the tiny moments that made it so. New York City doesn’t really give you a chance to regret much. Yes, I missed my family and friends but, I got a taste of what my life can be next year and it certainly got me wanting more. Watching Broadway musicals and swiping my credit card through Times square. Things I would love to get accustomed to. I created art there everyday and the days that I didn’t create art I had lessons about art and it’s controversial history. Various museum trips to the MoMA, Metropolitan Museum of Art, etc. left me starstruck in the wild, packed city that has so much to offer. Days turned into weeks. The teachers were more than just teachers or educators. They were so genuine and humble and left me inspired and motivated to pursue the one thing I’ve always been in love with…. art. My art. For a month my humble abode was two blocks away from Washington Square Park, but now I sit two blocks away from Five gardens, writing to you. Don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong with ‘Aamchi Mumbai’. However, there’s something wild and electric about ‘The Big Apple’ that gets you hooked on. By now, you’re either tearing up with joy thinking about yourself in this scenario or tearing up with anguish for not being the one sharing a great summer school experience. But, I know you’ve done a lot this year. In no way does attending summer school determine how much more capable an individual is. Yes, it takes you to a world beyond your own, makes you socialise with people of all age groups, cultures and from different walks of life, gives you a taste of what your education in the future will be like, gives you a palette tingling sensation of what independence might taste like and not to mention a tonne of images captured on your phone… so yes, I’d recommend it to you, but if you choose to overlook the suggestion, that’s fine. I flew back home heavy hearted a few days back but, excited to come back to a life I’ve become way too familiar with. This life has its comforts and its great perks, the main one being that this life, this world has my family, my home.I know if I don’t step out of my bubble of comfort and warmth I won’t be able to make a difference or cause a change because my art will just remain mine and the rest of the world will be oblivious to its existence. So, in conclusion dear reader, I want to thank you for patiently reading till the end. I’d love to catch up more face- to- face, it’s been a while and I don’t know when I may see you next. This time next year I’ll once again pack up and fly off to another journey that will last for 4 years, which will be slightly longer than the journey I’ve just come back from. I’ll keep writing to you though. Don’t forget me. Yours always, Aarushi Zarthoshtimanesh