ਸਤਿ ਸ਼੍ਰੀ ਅਕਾਲ Sat Sri Akal,
Part I: The Honeymoon is Over
The past week has been a catastrophe to say the least. For the past six months, I have been studying for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) in my spare time, and more recently full time. Since I am in India under the auspices of the Fulbright Scholarship for one year, taking the GRE in America is not an option. I registered online over a month ago to sit for the GRE on Monday, December 3 in Gurgoan, a city located one hour away from the capital, Delhi. While preparing for my trip to Delhi, I planned a lofty weekend excursion filled with relaxing massages and consumption of foreign delicacies, neither of which are available in my city, Chandigarh. On Saturday, I packed my bags and hopped onboard the Shatabdi-Kalka Express train from Chandigarh to Delhi.
The first two days in Delhi were great! I went shopping in Delhi’s premiere shopping districts, ate yummy fried fish, and met up with other Fulbright Scholars for drinks. I was quite content on the evening of Sunday, December 2. The next morning India hit me like a monsoon. Now, let me admit upfront that 100 percent of the problems I encountered were avoidable, and that I may have overreacted.
Let me thoroughly explain the morning of December 3, 2012, and subsequent downturn of my life. I woke up at 8:30am in a fatuously jolly mood with only the slightest residuals of test anxiety. I looked at my iPhone, and saw that the address of my GRE testing location in Gurgoan was located exactly 50 minutes from my current location in the Defence Colony in New Delhi (mistake number 2). I knew my test was at 12:00pm, so I showered without a care in the world. I proceeded to make scrumptious strawberry pancakes and scrambled eggs with supplies that I purchased from the import market the day before. I left the house at 10:50am, and approached the first cabby I laid eyes on (mistake number 3). To my horror, he informed me that by car the route takes 1.5 hours due to traffic; however, if I take the metro I can reach Gurgoan by noon. For an overpriced Rs. 150, he drove me to the closet metro station. After franticly running around Delhi/Gurgoan for 1.5 hours, I arrived to the testing center late at 12:30pm. Panting, I apologized to the man at the desk, and begged him to let me take my exam still. He said, “Madamji, you have come to the wrong office. This is our headquarters. Our testing services are offered at this address.” He then preceded to hand me a little piece of paper with a tiny little address printed on it. He called the office, informed them I would be arriving late, and confirmed that they would still allow me to take the exam. All of my problems should be over, hai nah? Nope! I rushed over to the other office, just to have them tell me that my Florida state issued driver’s license was not an acceptable form of identification to be administered into the testing room. I pleaded with the manager. I explained to him that the confirmation email I received specifically said identification with picture is acceptable. I even showed him a printed copy of email that explains the identification requirements. He kept repeating to me, “Madam, if you have any problems you can contact the Educational Testing Service (ETS) at your discretion.” I spun off the crazy wagon, started crying uncontrollably, and explained that my graduate school applications are all due on December 28, 2012 and that today is the last day I can take the GRE in time for my prospective schools to receive my official score reports. As I sulked out of the office, he responded to my agony with, “Also, madam, unfortunately you cannot receive a refund for your $175 testing fee because you did not reschedule three days in advance.”
Part II: The Bright Side of the Moon:
Gurpurabs are the annual celebration of the births and deaths of the Sikh Gurus. This year the founder of Sikhism’s birthday landed on November 28, so last week all of the Gurdwaras in Chandigarh were brightly decorated with lights in honor of Guru Nanak.
The state of Punjab is the only state in India where members of the Sikh religion are the majority.
Thanks for reading! Make sure to check back in a week for my new blog which will cover all of my research progress thus far.
Tags: India - Fall 2012
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