There are a very things that we go through in life that truly alter who we are. We change through the sum total of the experiences we had, the friends we made and the adventures that we undertook. Maybe this life changing experiencing wasn’t as grandiose as I make it sound but it sure was hell of an adventure, after all Australia is indeed a magnificent place..
I set about to Australia, my very first trip abroad and that too on a 16 day student exchange. The people I met there, the conversations I had and the places I saw all remain freshly etched in my mind.
I was fortunate enough to be picked by my school to be a part of its first ever international student exchange. The first leg of the trip involved the Australians coming to India for the same period of 16 days and attending school and experiencing India with us. The second leg was vice-versa. So in June 2008 we set off for Australia, looking forward to staying with our new families for almost half a month. We were all very excited about the prospects of this wonderful trip. You can’t see a country properly as a tourist is the general opinion around the world, but we had a rare opportunity to experience it as students in Australia.
The school which participated in the exchange along with us was based in Melbourne so that is where we landed. We attended school with our friends, made boxes in shop class, taught them how to dance Bollywood style, walked on beaches and went on a trip from Melbourne to Sydney. Over these 16 days all of us became more like a family than a random set of students thrown in together to form a group.
It was in Australia that Jeanette, the media teacher from Australia, mentioned that she noticed my deep interest in photography when in India and even over there. She egged me on to click many more beautiful photographs and try and capture Australia. In essence, she was one of the main people responsible for me getting into photography. She made me promise her to invite her to my first big exhibition and someday way down the line, I will definitely fulfil that promise.
This trip to Australia was in many ways responsible for changing my outlook on a lot of things. It brought me closer to photography, it made me friends for life and it gave me an amazing life lesson that you simply can’t learn any other way. I somehow feel indebted to this beautiful country to all that I am today.