I grew up in New Delhi, all the way in India. I lived in the same house for 18 years of my life and went to the same school from Nursery all the way through high school. Purdue was the biggest change in my life. During the first 18 years, my life was exciting, it was lovely, it was engaging and yet, it was predictable.
I reached school at 7:50 am in the morning via a school bus and reached home from school on the same bus at 3:00 pm in the evening. Because I was not an adult, I had no idea how to drive and so my definition of fun was going to Select-City-Walk mall right behind my school. It was where the whole world wanted to be if brands wanted to make their mark in the markets of Delhi.
From Chanel to Furla to Bobbi Brown to Burger King and KFC, everything was there. Even the International House of Pancakes opened up recently, so it was a lit place to be. In essence, the weekdays pretty much revolved around a big house in the middle of the city, the school and amongst the swankiest malls in town. At that point, it seemed like the best combination that one could ever wish for.
I got into Purdue and moved to the United States.
I vividly remember getting into an Uber because my parents didn't have an international driving license and taking a 3-hour ride to Purdue University. It was actually gorgeous and my adrenaline shot through the roof as I repeatedly thought of studying here for the next 4 years.
Pretty soon, however, I realized that this place was nothing like New Delhi. For starters, New Delhi is bustling with people all the time. With a burgeoning population of 2 million people, it is more than the population of Illinois, Indiana and Iowa combined.
Over time, I was in for more shocks, most of the United States, had no metro infrastructure or no public transport for that matter at all. Everybody had cars and the campus was pretty much dead after 6 pm in the evening.
There was limited nightlife and not a lot of buzzes, everything was either in Chicago or Downtown Indianapolis. Purdue wasn't exciting anymore, over time my frustration of the lack of my mobility only grew.
Halfway through my freshman semester, I had realized that there is no escaping this place and gradually started accepting this place. Now this place is a second home and I am comfortable here. It is not a huge city with a lot of noise and people like Delhi because it does not need to be. It does not need to conform to my expectations of what a place should look like.
Corn country (Indiana), might have corn all around, but in those yellow yields is serenity. You might not get glaring lights of the most hep club in town, but you get a clear sky dotted with stars to look at during the night. You might not get to go to star-studded events all the time but there are always local events like starry nights.
Further, Corn country lives up to its namesake, it offers some of the sweetest corn I have ever had. In essence, Delhi and West Lafayette, Indiana are poles apart and neither needs to tailor itself to individual expectations because it is these imperfections that make them perfect.