The culmination of my junior year compelled me to understand the true meanings of freedom, change, and connections. I had time to just laze around the house or hang out with friends, or even join a summer class in the hopes to find the summer love I’ve always romanticized about. After looking over ACT books and curriculum for a whole year my eyes would wander to find that one person any chance I received. About a month into summer I had obtained the opportunity to take up an internship at an advertising agency for two weeks in my motherland; India. But of course, I couldn’t only be traveling for business reasons; it was summer vacation after all, so my parents decided to allow me and my sister to stay for an extra three weeks to spend time with my relatives.
Landing and taking off are usually what cause butterflies on an airplane, for me it was a whole different reason. I had not seen my relatives in three years, and everyone had grown up, including me. Last time I was a child, who was treated like a princess, but now I was a woman, according to my grandparents and that meant, no wearing shorts, or playing with boys; the rules I had heard before my departure were endless. But the hesitations washed away by the smell of my city, as we landed.
We were received by my favorite aunt; nothing had changed about her: her warm smile, her contemporary clothes, or her naturally engaging voice. We got home to find all our first cousins (who are all boys) with awkward yet welcoming faces. The first day we had communication gaps as our accents didn’t correspond and my Tamil (my mother tongue) was a little rusty, but most of all we thought that we were unlike one another therefore we couldn’t unearth a union.
After talks of movies, girls, boys, love, friendship, and everything a teenager worries about is when I truly realized no matter what environment you’re from, everyone goes through the same thing. Love is a universal language, and I had not forgotten about it after my change in setting either. My experience at the advertising agency allowed me to follow a production of a commercial where I learned not only about the industry, but also how they have fun: clubbing. Though I was only seventeen my aunt confirmed with my parents that I should get a behind the scenes look at the fresh side of Madras. Strobe lights, my favorite American songs, dancing like no one was watching, and observing the latest way for people to enjoy their Saturday nights was one of my favorite parts of my visit.
On my leftover three weeks I went to different restaurants every night, made new friends and shared the warmth of our ties on the soft sandy beach every weekend, shopped within the most vibrant colors of the world, and learned a new meaning of summer love. The freedom I shared with my family and friends in India excelled; I was awake till two in the morning every night either talking to my family or wandering around the bright city, it changed my perspective on life and revealed what I have been missing on, and taught me that connections can be easily made but it’s our duty to facilitate and maintain it. Even the strange looks I got from people on the street to the over protectiveness of my family couldn’t falter the most memorable time of my seventeen years. My journey found my summer love: the city of Madras.
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