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Telei's first Diwali

Mereseini Marau
Saturday, November 17, 2012

When Telei Savelio left her island home of Tuvalu to come to India for further studies in July, she didn't have the slightest clue as to what fate had in store for her.

Her first time travel overseas would definitely be a memorable one.

She arrived into Delhi without her suitcase and she realised there were no Tuvalu students in Delhi.

One of our Fiji friends called me up and asked if I could help Telei.

Her suitcase was recovered and she had moved to a paying guest accomodation.

From there on, Telei who is pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Delhi University's Laxmibhai College has been part of our Fiji students group.

A lot has changed for her during this short period of time.

There was a change in lifestyle, change in scenario and change in culture.

Away from her usual scenery of white sandy beaches, Telei was in the midst of traffic jam and overpopulated areas.

And no swaying palm trees, or beautiful thatched houses. All she could see now was the smog covered sky because of the cold weather and the dusty big buildings.

But all in all, Telei has adapted to her new home and new friends rather well. Whenever we have a function, she's there with the Fijian girls.

She even danced with us during the International Students Festival organised by the Idian Council for Culural Relations.

Since she is now flatting out with a few Fiji students, she was also there during our Diwali celebration.

"This is the first time for me to celebrate Diwali," the Funafuti native said.

"I really enjoyed it, and the loud fire -crackers. I never dreamt that one day I would be celebrating Diwali here in India," she said.

"I will always remember this Diwali because we all come together despite our different religious and ethnic backgrounds and became one big happy family," she said.

Telei expressed her gratitude for being accepted by the group members who saw her as their very own.

"I'm gateful that they just treat me like I'm a Fijian."

"I've never heard anything like this in my life," she said referring to noisy firecrackers.

Telei said she had tasted a bit of Indian sweets, but not the sweets made back in Fiji. First—year student Jasmine Narayan said Telei had been included in all their functions.

"We are happy to have her around."

"Since we are all so far away from home, all we can do is look after one another," said Narayan.

nMereseini Marau is a former journalist of the The Fiji Times, studying in India.

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