I am Valentina from Italy.
I’m 23 and come from Verona. I graduated in Oriental Languages at Ca ‘Foscari University in Venice. My field of study is the Indian subcontinent. I have studied Hindi language and in general Indian culture. This “strange” choice is due to the passion I have taken from my family. I have grown up hearing about India and its wonderful history. Clearly, my parents have never been fanatic about “oriental cultures” and they were certainly not one of those those who went to India to find themselves or to meditate. BUT, we got several opportunities to explore North India.
After having explored India as a kid with my parents, I came back to India in 2015, with a friend of mine. It was a new and important experience for my growth. I spent a month and a half in a district, south of Calcutta, West Bengal, and then in the state of Jharkhand, in the middle of a campaign, through an association that deals mainly with street children (for those who are interested in “Child In Need Institute “- CINI). The Indian reality I saw and lived was not easy to digest, but I immediately realized that India has so many shades and it’s not enough to see all of them. After this experience, it was time to give wings to the tourists in us, so we visited: Varanasi, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Mathura, Vrindavan and New Delhi.
After this trip I admit that my “desire for India” had diminished: the last days in the subcontinent seemed infinite and I was looking forward to going back to my Country. But, then destiny got me back to India and this time I visited India with my dad. It was wonderful to live in the country with another point of view.
In 2016 I went on to attend a Hindi language course in New Delhi. After staying in the capital for a month and a half with two other girls, we traveled for a month to the following places: Calcutta, Varanasi, Bombay and finally two locations of Goa, Benaulim and Agonda.
In June 2017 I did an internship at the Italian Embassy in New Delhi (organized by my university). I returned to Italy at the end of September.
My Indian experiences have been completely different, with different people and in different places. When someone asks me (and so many) why this (sometimes crazy) passion, I am out of words. Every time I go back to India I feel at home and every time I leave for Italy I have tears in my eyes.
There are so many aspects I’ve fallen in love with: the smells of the foods you feel when walking on any Indian road (I like to eat and in India you can taste lots of food!); the intense looks of people who are curious about you; the smiles of children, the people on the train (I did some night train trips and you never know where to go); the markets where you can literally buy anything at tattered prices (I’m not a fan of shopping, but in India it’s hard not to buy) But, you know what I miss the most, quarreling with my rickshaw drivers, haha.
But, obviously I also had a few bad experiences in India, but then, India teaches you how to convert these negatives into positives. Probably, this is one of the reasons I feel happy being in India!