Have you ever had something so good that you think things can’t get worse? Like you’ve just climbed to the top of a mountain and only an avalanche could bring you back down. Standing tall at 10000 feet and in a matter of seconds, a tiny rock builds momentum, carrying you down with it, all the way to the bottom. You can’t move and only time will build you back up.
Well, this is what my last week has been like. After completing a long process of tracing and laying out images to be printed for a model, I finally had the time to head south to the beautiful city of Pondicherry. Ever since I read and watched Life of Pi, Pondy (as locals call it) has been on my top 10 places to visit in the world. The old french quarter which is being renovated to look like a sliver taken out of New Orleans is ordained with beautiful colors and colonial facades. It was like being in a movie when the other interns and I road bikes through the narrow, vacant streets; a rarity in India. And the food was to die for. My expectations were met plus some for the traditional french cooking mixed with the flares of indian spices.
The day seemed to becoming to a perfect end when we all grabbed an ice cream on the corner of our street where we were staying, when BOOM. I turned around to see two motorcycles t-bone each other, throwing both drivers who were not wearing helmets, knocking one out, and cracking the skull of the other, leaving him to die on site. Never in my life have I witnessed someone die and never did I imagine I would be within 10 feet of the scene.
How do you sleep at night after experiencing this? Just writing about it revives the image in my head, shooting chills up and down my spine. However, I have to move on form that memory. It happened and there will be a number good things to come that will drown out the vision of death.
After getting back to Chennai, it was time to crack down and finish the work before leaving for Kochi at the end of the week. I was excited to be finish my internship, as I’ve learned so many valuable resources and made new friends, that it seemed strange that I began to feel fatigued for no specific reason. Within an hour of getting back to my apartment this past Monday, my immune system crashed. I had severe chills and a headache that kept me up all night. The next day, I was in the office for 10 minutes before returning home to lie in bed and deal with my warm body and upset stomach on top of the two original symptoms. By night time, the pain was too unbearable to wait off. I had to go to the Emergency Room.
I’ll first say that hospitals here are actually decent. They’re more simple than American hospitals, but just as clean and little to no wait time. My doctor spoke perfect english and kept me calm when he told me I had a 103 degree fever and needed an injection via IV to reduce the temperature. Thank god I listened to my instinct when I figured something wasn’t right. Who knows, maybe I would have collapsed later in the week if I hadn’t gone and serious damage could have been done.
After being sent home with medicine to cure the fever, headache, digestive issues and all the other crazy symptoms I had acquired in such a short amount of time, I thought I would be good to go back to work the following day. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t happen. For the next three days, I could only put in about three hours of work, completing minot projects before being sent home for fatigue, nausea and something that is beyond our control that requires multiple visits to the bathroom. The pain has been terrible. I toss and turn in the night, waking up sweating after having night mares and fighting to stay strong after not having an appetite.
I keep asking myself, how is this fair? I was miserable in the beginning but found my happiness and was wanting to stay longer. I was at the peak of enjoyment here in India and out of nowhere, I drained to 1% of battery life left. I’ll be frank when I say I want to go home now more than I did back in week one. I know it sucks and it doesn’t give India or this Internship a good reputation, but I gave it my all, and I’m ready to leave.
This is by far the saddest blog I have ever written and I plan on keeping it that way. I still have one week and I will focus on the positives from here on out. I don’t want to let anyone down and I don’t want to push all the good parts aside, so I’m going to wait to get better and climb back to the top of the mountain.