For this JOU3109c assignment, I interviewed Kruti Bhatt, a classmate of mine, over the phone. After our interview I had to create a personal profile for her.
While visiting other countries, understanding its culture adds personal meaning. For others, sharing this culture is a large part of their life, whether they are traveling or not.
Kruti Bhatt, a 22-year-old student at the University of Florida, shares her experiences while traveling to India to visit family.
Bhatt and her family travel to Gujarat, which is in Central India, to visit relatives. There, she speaks to them in Gujarati, one the many languages of India. “My parents taught me Gujarati, but I learned Hindi, the official language, from movies and soap operas.”
While traveling, Bhatt was able to visit many Indian sights, including the Himalayans. “During my first trip, we went to a resort called Kullu Manali. We went hiking and there were monkeys everywhere, which was very cool.”
In India, it is very common to see animals, such as cows and dogs, roaming the streets. “As a kid it’s really cute and funny, but it is also kind of sad because the animals do not have a home. In India, it is tradition to leave leftovers outside to feed the strays.”
In addition to feeding the strays after meals, families will usually go on walks after dinner to socialize and help digest dinner, and sometimes buy ice cream as a treat. “One of the biggest things I’ve noticed in India is that nothing is more important than family,” said Bhatt. “It is important that you respect your elders because it shows ‘seva,’ which is a good reflection of you [and your character].”
Festivals are extremely import to Indians and to Hinduism, and are celebrated often. “One of the festivals I was present for was Uttarayan, which celebrates the changing of seasons from spring into summer,” said Bhatt. “It is an outdoor festival and we celebrated by flying kites.”
In the United States, however, Bhatt and her family must celebrate holidays, like Diwali, the festival of lights, at home. “We try to go to the temple and we will put lights up around the house and turn on all of the lights in each room,” said Bhatt. “After, my mom will make food.”
Her favorite memory is when she visited the Taj Mahal. “It wasn’t as much as destination that was the best part, but the journey. There was a great field we had to walk through to get there,” she recalled. “There were many restrictions I didn’t understand [because I was young] at the time, but it was very memorable and beautiful.”
Bhatt has taken two trips, one at age seven and the other at age 12, and a third is being planned for this summer. Although it has been awhile since Bhatt has been to India, her excitement to return grows larger with time. “I have a lot of love for the country and I cannot wait to go back,” said Bhatt. “There is so much more I have to discover.”