582 days of MUWCI

I joined MUWCI on August 12th, 2018.



In the lush green jungle, with dark clouds hanging over because of the continuous rain, (one of the perks of having a campus atop a hill) there I was. A confused, homesick, scared, and damp first year. It was my first time away from home. Shivering, and somehow still energetic, I started to unpack my huge suitcase and settle into my new muddy home- the hill.

First-term goes by in a blink, amidst the confused excitement and endless questions, I cannot even register how much I changed and evolved in every way possible. I met people from countries I didn’t know existed. Every conversation I had on the cafeteria table, about cultures, festivals, languages, and communities filled my metaphorical cup of intellectual stimulation to the brim. I had so many stimuli around me, my senses desperately tried to absorb every new piece of information I was exposed to. The initial UWC experience hits you so fast, and it takes a solid few months to accept that you are living on top of an isolated hill, in rural Maharashtra, with people from 150 different countries. After having lived on the hill for 2 years, this stopped surprising when I went about my daily routines as a second year, but now at the end of my journey, I feel so proud that we thrived as a community despite our differences.

First Term is the first piece of the puzzle that is your MUWCI experience, but because there is so much happening around you, you focus on the most perceptible sensory stimuli: you focus on what you see. In first term, I saw people from across the globe and I naturally thought, ‘They must be so different from me’. But by the second term, I realized that someone from halfway across the world could perceive the world similar to how I do,  and perhaps someone who lives a few hours away from my hometown could have a completely different perspective. I began to see the diversity on a deeper level, diversity in terms of more than just colors and nations. I opened myself to noticing how people from my own subcontinent had so many different- equally valid- opinions and that’s when I realized that the cliched UWC selling point of different colors and cultures is inaccurate; the true diversity that UWCs exhibit is in terms of opinions and thought processes. Every single person on campus is a politically active citizen with their own perspectives and being from the same region, or even the same city does not mean they will think in similar ways, which is what makes thinking about issues at a UWC so beautiful and enriching. This celebration of difference while at the same time having compassion is what binds the community together.

Apart from ideological observations, if I really want to articulate the profound impact MUWCI had on me, I also need to think about what it technically also is: a high school, with teenagers and the IB curriculum.

I found support in so many people during my time at MUWCI. Boarding schools, in general, do amplify the closeness between peers, but at MUWCI – a community of just 240 students – there is no way you can leave campus without having had a conversation -at least once- with everyone. I’ve made some friendships at MUWCI I’ll never forget, and in the absence of family and friends back home, I was forced to trust and rely on people so deeply, in a way that I never have had before. I’m so glad I did. I’ve learned so many things about myself and the world through my interactions here, and every single person I’ve met has contributed to who I am today.

My second years graduated in May 2019. Campus without them was disorienting.  During my second year. every time something went wrong I felt like running to a second-year friend’s room and crying my heart out, waiting for them to say everything was going to be okay, which would soon prove to be true. The same process was reversed when my own first years arrived on campus in August 2019, and being there for them was bittersweet because it meant my journey was going to end.

The IB isn’t easy, and its part of why MUWCI time moves at a speed 2.5x faster than real-world time. In these two years, I’ve barely had time to breathe and look at the stunning view around us because I was too busy drowning in EEs, IAs, TOK, presentations, tests, trivenis (CAS), etc. But amidst the chaos, there’s a silver lining; there’s beauty in the fact that we chose this. We prayed to be challenged so intensely in every form of life- academically, emotionally, mentally and physically. Everyone I know has stretched their capacities at MUWCI and has turned into a well-balanced person who I would be proud to call my friend. Being at MUWCI means constantly overcoming your biases,  reassessing your opinions of the world and the people around you, and questioning yourself to seek your inner values. Being at MUWCI for me, meant looking in the face of adversity and instead of running away, facing the pain and to keep striving to become better.

If I were to describe my MUWCI experience in a few words, it would be transformative, yet so challenging. I am not the same confused first year that I was on the first day I came to this campus. I’ve become so much more resilient, mindful, and more myself. This brings me to one of my last points, MUWCI has brought me closer to myself.

It is easy to remain neutral in comfort, but when placed in a challenging environment under pressure is when you can truly see who you are – what are your limits, your setbacks, your values, your biases, and your abilities. MUWCI made me realize I was much stronger than I thought I was because it made me so. I fell so many times at MUWCI, but each time I got back up stronger and faster. These two years have fundamentally changed me. I’ve nurtured a voice inside myself which seeks reason and empathy even in the most trying times.

I’m writing this after having graduated MUWCI in March, 2020, two months earlier than I should have. Obviously, I am still learning. I have 4 years of college life ahead of me to learn so much more in life and improve myself further. But, MUWCI has been the kick-start to my life as a global citizen, and I am so grateful for my experience here.




Maybe it was the way the meeting ended the evening before, or maybe it was the agonizing headache he bore since this morning. Regardless, he was fuming with a fire that could not be extinguished; a fire that kept flaring inside him the more he thought, burning everything in his way. It was a hot summer day, unusually sunny even for a coastline city.  His shoulders were sunburnt, but his forehead was distinctly red, probably owing to his raging ache. The sun’s warmth fuelled his flame.

It was not like him to be this moved by something. In life, he had learned to let things slide past. After all, his grandmother had told him, that in the strong currents of the river of life, what is significant and heavy remains put on the river-bed, while the unimportant and light are plunged forward by the force of being. But now, he found himself clinging on to the very bedrock,  trying to forcibly shift the current, so he could choose what stays and what does not. He was desperately attempting to be his own force of being. His grandmother, however, was not around to tell him that it was a bad idea, and so he blazed forward, his firestorm growing by the minute. He entered his office where the glass wall behind his table offered a picturesque view of the eastern beach. The ocean’s sight was breathtaking, and any person would have definitely stopped to soak in the view. Contrastingly, he immediately pulled the blinders and sat down on his chair in the dark. The sunlight was upsetting him; there was enough warmth in him from what was boiling inside.

“Anger is a bad virtue”, said Lina, his co-worker, walking inside the dark office, barely lit by what was left of the sunlight the blinders couldn’t obstruct. He refused to look her in the eye, and answered with his back turned, “Leave.” He was breathing fire.

“Let’s take a walk.” She signaled outside. He obviously did not follow. “I have something to show you. It’s about the deal.” He followed.

They walked next to the shoreline, under the shady palm tree leaves where the sun’s scorching light couldn’t sting them.  For the first time in weeks they experienced a silence. A silence, in which you could hear his blood boiling in his nerves, but his mouth refused to turn that sound into words. What was left to say?

“I’m sorry we didn’t get the deal. I know it was important to you, but to be honest, we had told you it was practically impossible and we tried our best, but we knew it was an astronomical, one in a million shot. You’ve spent the past weeks working night and day ever since you heard about it… Have you even thought about her yet, without bringing up the permit?”, her voice slowly faded.  He looked at the sky. “Is that what you wanted to show me?” he fired.  She responded immediately, “No, I wanted to show you the view,” and she pointed straight ahead, to the ocean.  He observed the view and exhaled. He looked carefully near the horizon and observed a tint of blue in the otherwise sunny, golden sky. The light blue merged with the darker sea-line and the different shades of the color gently contrasted against each other. Silence fell again, but this time, the sound of the ocean’s waves, crashing against the Earth and then rising again, filled their ears.

“It’s not what she would have wanted. I got so caught up with trying to secure the place where she was born that I didn’t realize that she was truly gone. Somewhere in my mind, I really thought securing that house would make everything alright somehow,” he said, his voice slowly cracking at the end and a thin film of tears forming over his brown eyes.

“She was your grandmother. How long will you keep punishing yourself?”, she asked gently. His head suddenly turned to her, and away from the ocean. It was a question that seared his every waking thought, his dreams, and everything in between.

He turned his face back towards the ocean. The sunlight was slowly fading.  A cool breeze brushed against his face, his forehead cooled, and his pain subsided. As another wave crashed into the beach sand, a voice whispered inside him “I cannot control the tide.” The sun dove into the ocean, and the noontide orange soon turned into a cool dark blue. His fury dissolved. The decision was already made – the state had refused to hand over the land where his grandmother was born- and there was nothing left to do. “You can honor her memory by listening to her,” Lina said.

“My grandmother is right. I cannot be the force of being,” he said and took one last glimpse of the ocean.

Walking back under the stars, with each step sinking in the chilled sand, they left.


The need to write.

Have you asked the sun the need to shine so bright? Or the stars the need to twinkle like specks of gold, adorning the dark sky like jewels? Have you asked a drowning man the need to breathe? Equivalent, are all these to asking me the need to write.

A tiger roars. A roar is its expression. It’s nature. Cats meow, dogs bark, frogs croak and the nightingale sings into the darkness of the night. Similarly, I write. Writing for me roaring like that tiger, it is my expression, my nature. Many may say, that writing cannot be compared to life processes essential for survival. Writing cures the ailment of my inner soul, which is equally important for my living.

My pen is holy, as it is the medium through which my inside body, connects with the outside world. My hands transport what is happening in my soul with ink; my blood, laid down on paper in the form of letters. Writing is cathartic. It is the act of opening a pandora box, for my emotions burst open and bow down on paper. My soul feels lighter at the end of each sentence, removing, from on top of me, the burden of unsaid words.

You know the feeling you get after running for a long time? A fatigued, depleted feeling? This worn-out emotion coupled with joy is what I feel after writing. My energy, both mental and physical is absorbed to its fullest as my hands try their best at matching up to the speed of my mind’s thoughts, rapidly trying to grab all of them and put them down on paper.

Writing for me is freedom. It sets my spirit free. It is me facing my demons and angels, witnessing the confrontation and winning. Writing gives me clarity, it shows me what I feel, who I am, It is a mirror which never lies, a reflection of the soul.

The need to write is my need to live. It is the signal for my soul to go on. These words are all that I really have.

Writing for me is living and breathing. The gift of expression is one without which I cannot quite imagine living life. For me, I come alive only when I write.

No matter who stays or strays, your words can never betray.