Getting off campus is always an adventure at FLAME, because the city is an hour away, but also because to get to any other part of the city besides where we are dropped off requires a rickshaw.
Early on when I arrived at FLAME one of my first weekends here a group of girls adopted me into their friend group and took me with them on their shopping adventure. We went to mall nearby to go shopping (they took me to several Indian stores to find some clothes I can wear since I wanted some traditional clothing and so did not bring much with me from home) and to see a movie.
One thing I noticed very quickly was the amount of Caucasians in the ads around the mall. I was shocked to see that the majority of the advertisements showed people of a skin colour that did not match those of the residents. It is an interesting thought to consider how this influences those who see it every day.
I also noted the difference in written advertisements -many of them focusing on relationships and families instead of “being you” or “stand out.”
We then went to see a new release: Gone Girl.
Doughnuts were a nice treat (particularly this double trouble one). Considering many people’s stereotypical impressions of Canada comes from How I Met Your Mother and Tim Hortons, it was fun to try a “Canadian” thing in India.
Finally as many of our friends departed, me and one other stayed behind for some extra time. We ended up checking out the haunted house (about 2 minutes of fright) that was in an arcade near the movie theatre.
Much fun ensued and at the end of the day we walked back to the rickshaws through a path of lit lantern lights.
All in all, the experience of going to a mall in India was one that I was not expecting to have, but that I am grateful for. It was weird to see how similar malls in India are to ones in Canada (including the same stores -like Forever 21 and La Senza). One of my concerns in coming to India was honestly how overwhelmed I felt in Canadian malls. Before leaving I’d gotten to the stage where I was thinking of every person I saw as an individual and when going to malls, I felt that there were too many stories to take in. This was not a problem for me at all when I arrived to India. Instead I took in the crowds of people and chaos as.. crowds of people and chaos. Going to the mall in Pune proved to myself that the person I am in Canada does not translate to who I am here and I was able to have a grand time exploring something that is normal for locals and that I would not have ventured into if I were a tourist.
Much more to come.
Until next time,