My Arrival in Pune

Erin Haley

When I first arrived in Pune a few weeks ago, I was entirely overwhelmed. I wasn’t used to the crowded streets or the spicy food, nor was I prepared for the communication difficulties I would soon face. After settling into the hostel, I had given myself a few days to adjust to the time difference and overall culture before going to work. During that time, my phone broke and I discovered that my computer charger would not fit in the adaptor I had bought in the airport, leaving me with a dead computer and no way to communicate with anyone from the office. Knowing that Uber was essentially the only way to get around Pune, I had no way to get to work, and even with transportation, I couldn’t access my email and therefore had no idea where I was supposed to report to for my first day.

I immediately started to panic, wondering how I could possibly be late or even miss my very first day at the office. I soon found a local store where I could buy a new charger, allowing me to charge my computer and email Atma to ask for the office location, but still did not know what to do about transportation.

I was soon met with incredible kindness from the other girls on the floor of my hostel. Someone from across the hall had asked me about my work with Atma and realized my predicament. After only knowing me for two days, she located an old phone and called her father to activate the SIM and reload it with data and a calling balance so I could get an Uber to take me to work, as well as communicate with anyone from home if need be. When she stopped me in the hall to let me know the news, I was entirely shocked and couldn’t express my gratitude enough for all the trouble she had gone through on my behalf. After refusing my offer to pay her back for the data and calling balance, she told me if I ever needed anything, she would be right across the hall.

The incredible kindness did not stop there; other students in the hostel helped me in any way possible, from a new friend coming with me to the local supermarket in which very little English was spoken to taking me out to dinner to recommending various places in Pune to visit. My experience thus far has been shaped by amazing people always offering to answer my many questions about India or suggest a neighborhood to explore alone on a long weekend. I can’t wait to see who and what the next undoubtedly special 2.5 months bring.