It’s two days until I fly back to Hyderabad, and go back to my life, which oscillates, mostly between our villas at Banyan Tree and the Schulich campus by the airport, and I’m weirdly excited about going back to that after a good two and a half weeks back home. It might seem strange to some as to why one would be excited to go back to something like that. For those from the metros of India, this might seem quite mundane and lacklustre.
My impression of life at Banyan Tree has come a long way from the first time I stepped into its sprawling property.
I went in with absolutely no expectations of what the next 8 months would look like. While I was weary of how well I’d get along with my other villa mates (a term I would have to slowly get used to using) I held on to my nerves and decided to take things as they came. The mission in my head was to get done with these 8 months by hook or by crook and move away to greener, more exciting pastures, i.e.- Canada.
The very first night, the three of us who had come a day earlier than our other four future villa mates, spent the entire night sitting on the terrace of our villas gazing at stars, discussing our pasts, getting to know each other. Surprisingly, not much changed over the coming months. The terrace was the platform, and the stars were the inspiration. All seven of us bonded with each other and got to know each other despite how different the places we came from were. We weren’t distracted by the unnecessary hustle and bustle of the city. We were in a serene environment, where the thoughts were our own and not of the commotion that surrounded us.
We weren’t bogged down by household chores because even though they were there to be completed, it was easy when the seven of us divided it between us. We laughed, we fought, we ate, we drank, we studied, we snoozed in a way that a family would.
We found a film critic in a lawyer, a comedian in a computer engineer, an artist in a banker and came to be acquainted with different experiences one of our villa mates had when he travelled extensively during his adventurous sojourns.
This camaraderie and bonhomie didn’t hijack our academic pursuits one bit though. Amongst the seven of us we had the class representative, the cohort treasurer, 3 club presidents and possibly the sharpest mind from the cohort amidst us. Banyan Tree gave us a sense of mental peace that manifested itself in other forms when it came to our academics and our interactions with one another.
The option to go for a swim after class or play a game of snooker to relax was one which brought with it immense value in the sense that we always knew there was an avenue for a “release” waiting for us at all times. Distances between our villas and the rest of the “schuligan” villas within the property were covered by picturesque canopied lanes which went on for not longer than a kilometer and brought with it an opportunity to introspect over the happenings of the day. Cricket matches between villas became the sporting event of the fortnight. When one conversation seemed out of bounds or simply boring, one could simply hop in to another villa and engage in another conversation with your friends over a meal.
I start my second term tomorrow and while I’m extremely anxious about the academic challenges that come with it, I am cajoled by the sense of peace and comfort waiting back at Banyan Tree for me. My chilly evening swims, conversations under the stars, walks which I wish would never end and my family in Villa 244 awaits me.