Bombay to Townsville; A journey in architecture

If I went back in time and told my 10-year-old self that in the future I’d be living in another country independently, ziplining and kayaking, diving in the great barrier reef, working in multi-cultural environment, publishing my own research paper in an international architecture journal and finding my own family in a country where I didn’t know anyone; 10-year-old me would think it was something from an adventure book. 10-year-old me had 2 new clothes every year, second hand textbooks, hardworking parents who looked after her and travelling between 2 major cities in India on holidays. Travelling abroad was an insane concept because we had no family. During my bachelor’s degree in India my best friend left for the States for her PhD. It had a huge impact on me.

Being a nerd deep down all my life, my passion for architecture led me to see the world very differently and after graduation I wanted to be in a space where I could feel a part of the larger world. So, after much deliberation, I moved to Australia for a new life. It took some time to adjust, but I eventually got the hang of life in a different country. It was a huge cultural and perspective shift. I think the idea we have of a place, person or experience is the most important because thinking about doing something is the first place to start. Then eventually, doing it makes it much more enjoyable. Of course, it was not all smooth sailing, there were times where I felt like I had to give up. But, I’m glad I didn’t. All my life, I longed for freedom, for independence and today I feel I have got everything I wished for. I have made friends in the strangest of circumstances and diverse backgrounds.

All this has led me to shed my inhibitions, let go of my prejudices and allowed me to be grateful for all that I have. Fear, Hatred and Pride don’t make good company to live anyway. I believe my life is what you make of any situation and my love for architecture has made this my life. I am a 5 foot 2 woman living in a world which still lacks representation from people like me. Most of the times, I’m always the only coloured person in the room or the only woman. But, you know what? Someone needs to make the change. I’m glad I’m part of it. All the moving from a huge city then to a smaller one and then living in a town which is a 30 minute radius of everything makes me feel a sense of belonging. It has become a part of me and it makes me feel a sense of happiness.

Rohini Chatterjee

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