Week 14: Jungle, Airplane, Desert

We spent our last few days in Bangalore hurriedly trying to finish up all our research, while also trying to make sure we’d done everything we wanted to do in the city. (We did not succeed in achieving the second goal). On Monday my interview got rescheduled, so instead I started plugging along on my thirty-page paper. On Tuesday I was told to meet my advisor at a hospital, the reason for which I was not privy to. As it turns out, one of her colleagues was having her “sex-change” operation that day, so people her friends were hanging out at the hospital. At this particular hospital in Bangalore they have an entire wing dedicated to surgery for transgender individuals, which was very surprising and interesting to me. I conducted a short focus group while at the hospital, and went back the next day for another two interviews.


After leaving the hospital on Wednesday, I traveled to the local law school to meet with some students for my study. All of the students were very kind and more than willing to talk with me. It was nice to get to talk to people who really understood my project and were excited to tell me their thoughts. Overall it was a very tiring day and I was about ready to collapse when I got home.


On Thursday the work of finishing my research paper began. Luckily, I had painstakingly transcribed all of my interviews so I had a lot to work with. We tried to balance our work and play by remembering to feed ourselves good food (Tibetan noodles) and rewarding a hard day’s work with some Netflix (Jessica Jones) in the evening.


On Friday we spent another day working hard and dreading having to leave our new home and the subsequent freedom that came with it. As we were walking around in the afternoon getting snacks, we were suddenly hit with another monsoon. In the few blocks we had to walk home, we got entirely soaked down to the bone To celebrate our final night in Bangalore, we decided to have a night in and finally utilize our “kitchen” by making pasta for dinner. It was good, despite the fact that the cheese may have been the cause of my sickness the following day. We stayed up too late (per usual) and sorrowfully packed up our room the next morning.


Though our flight wasn’t until the early evening on Saturday, we had to leave early to beat the Bangalore traffic. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived at the airport I was feeling very unwell and was afraid I was going to die on the airplane. Luckily, I had my lovely roommate and friend with me to take care of me and attempt to feed me. I thankfully survived the trip and we arrived safely back in Jaipur.


We were quickly jolted back into life in Rajasthan, immediately garnering the usual stares and being hit by a wave of heat despite the late hour. It was surreal to be back in the city after being gone for so long, and even stranger to see all of our classmates again. I was still feeling slightly unstable, having not eaten much all day, but it was exciting being reunited and hearing about everyone’s vastly different experiences from the past month. We are staying at the guest house in Jaipur that we stayed at when we first arrived back in February, which adds another level of weirdness to the situation.


Everyone has been working on finishing (or starting) their papers this weekend, and having already finished I’ve mostly been hanging out. (Yes, I am that kid). This next week we will be here in Jaipur giving presentations on our research and wrapping things up with the staff. It will be interesting to see what everyone has learned over the past month and hopefully we will get some much-needed down time. Stay tuned to see if we survive the desert heat.


Until next time,


A wiped-out desert dweller

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