Tearless in Bangalore

by Hồ Anh Thái On board the flight from Bangkok to Bangalore, Diệp sat next to a Korean businessman who had been trading in that Indian state for several years. It was the Silicon Valley of India, he informed her. And not only of India:  Bangalore was the software center of the world. All the top software and electronic technology innovators and experts had come to roost in that state. For the next three and half hours of her flight, Diệp’s knowledge about the city where she would spend the next two years of her life was supplemented by her seatmate’s lecture.  She was going to India to do an M.A. in history, a field quite different than the computer wizardry of Silicon Valley. She listened eagerly to Mr. Korea. But she felt worried and uneasy. Would anybody from the university come to meet her at the airport? She was coming to India at a time before cellphones, and she was traveling blind, with no information about the city she was coming to or about the university where she would study. After she had received her scholarship, she had basically just closed her eyes and set forth with the air ticket sent to her by the Indian government. Without a penny in her purse. In the course of their conversation, the Korean man – his name was Mr. Kim – was given to understand how little she knew about her destination, how she had plunged blindly into a journey of…

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