By: Aarya Tyagi
We had just arrived at my grandmother’s house in Ghaziabad, India. It was late at night, but the unbearable heat persisted. I desperately wanted to lay down and sleep in a soft, comfy bed. We entered the wrought-iron gate onto brilliantly painted tiles leading into the garage, and grandma came out with her cane and greeted us. She hadn’t seen us in six years and was crying. She lovingly escorted us to our sleeping quarters, and I collapsed on the mosquito-netted bed. I quickly fell asleep, despite the constant blaring of rickshaw horns in the distance. The next morning, I woke up to the maid sweeping the dusty floors of our bedroom. I brushed my teeth and saw a newt on the concrete wall, orange with black dots along its spine. Trying to take a shower, I kept turning the dial to no avail. After some asking around, I found out that when the shower was bought, my grandparents used it once, and then turned off its water source and went back to using buckets. I eventually accepted my fate and used the bucket. Now it was time for us to settle down and organize our luggage, as we would be here for over a month. My mom and I were arranging our clothes when my mom jumped back and, out of nowhere, threw a cockroach in the air. The giant brown insect flew through the air and landed on my foot. I had never seen a cockroach before, so naturally, I screamed loud enough for the children in the school next door to come outside to see the commotion. I haven’t been to India since.