Home Away from Home: Aniruddh “Rudy” Fatehpuria ’17

Aniruddh “Rudy” Fatehpuria ’17 talks about Rollins, studying in the U.S., and the items he brought with him from India to make his stay in Winter Park feel more like home.

(Photo by Scott Cook) (Photo by Scott Cook)

I am from… Kolkata, India.

I speak… English, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, and some Chinese.

I am majoring in… international business and economics.

I chose Rollins because… It was really close to Disney. No, I’m kidding. I chose Rollins because I was really impressed by the business degree and the econ professors over here. And the weather is absolutely fantastic.

After I graduate, I want to… work to get more experience, but finally I would like to become an entrepreneur. I’d like to be my own man, make my own dreams come true.

I can’t live without… air and food, I guess. No, I’m kidding. I would say art and music. Something has to be there that keeps you interested in doing things. If life’s boring, there’s no point. Art because it has no language. There are memories embodied in both art and music. You know when you hear a good piece of music and you associate people and good memories with it? I think that’s what makes it so special.

If I could share tea with someone, it would be… a new friend. You know when somebody comes over and you’re just talking and you give them a cup of tea? People love it when you cook for them. I love it when people cook for me. It’s such a good experience. It’s such a good bonding experience.

One thing people should know about me is… I love to make people laugh. Making people laugh is one of the best ways to meet new people and bond with them, I think. When you’re really serious with people, there’s that sort of tension between you. I don’t like that a lot. But when you’re making them laugh, they break down their barriers; they’re so open with you.

When I was growing up, I wanted to be… This might sound like a really Indian answer, but I always wanted to be a businessman when I grew up. Seriously. I come from a business background. My father is a businessman, so is my grandfather. We have a real entrepreneurial spirit in my family.

The happiest day of my life was… the day that my sister was born. Absolutely.

The saddest day of my life was… when my sister started taking my stuff. This is super weird, but when I got a new sister, I didn’t think she was going to stay for a long while. I thought all right, she’s coming over for awhile, maybe she’ll stay for a little while and then she’ll go away. Let me share my stuff with her. And then she just stayed, as if it were her home. I mean, well, it was, but still. And for some reason, she loved my stuff.

If I could be anywhere else, I would be… with some friends, somewhere. I don’t care where it is. As long as you have good company, it doesn’t matter where you are.

The thing I like the most about myself is… the fact that in my heart I feel that I have free will. Despite all of the philosophy that I have studied, I always feel that you’re the one who decides your actions. All you need is the courage to be whoever you want to be, and life opens up to you.

Something that always makes me smile is… any good joke. Or when somebody uses the word doody.

The most important person in my life… is definitely my mom. She was always there for the smallest and the biggest things in my life. When I told her I wanted to study outside of India, she was so supportive. You know how moms usually are. They don’t want their kids to go away, but she was really supportive of what I wanted to do. She liked that I was ambitious.

I am most proud that I… made the decision to come to Rollins. It was one of the toughest decisions to make in life. You understand. You’re leaving your country, and then you’re flying half way around the world. You absolutely know no one over there. Ya, you have to fend for yourself, but once you get friends, it’s so much easier, so much better.

The thing I miss most about India is… the food. My favorite, favorite item is biryani. It’s a specialty in my city. It’s absolutely fantastic, and there’s nothing like it in the world.

One of the biggest cultural obstacles for me has been… I actually can’t think of any. Hindus, generally, they’re deeply practical people. It’s a religion that’s really incorporating in its nature.

Growing up in India, I remember… kite fighting. What you do is the normal kite string (manja), you take it, you wet it, and you put glass powder on it to make it really, really strong. When you’re flying kites, someone in the next building could also be flying kites, and you try to cut their string using your own. If you do, if you cut the other person’s string, their kite is yours as a prize. That’s kite fighting. It’s so fun. You need to hone your skills, or you’re going to lose a lot of kites.

The weirdest thing about Americans is… there are so many weird things. So, so, so many weird things. But Americans are such selfless people. As a collective bunch, they like to help other people. What’s weird about it is that they’re really shy about asking about it for themselves. Even if they need it. Even if they desperately need help, they will never ask for it. Asking for help is one of the most courageous things you can do. You don’t want to help yourself, but charity should begin at home.

(Photo by Scott Cook) (Photo by Scott Cook)

Inside his room

1 | Boxing gloves
I use these for muay thai. I’ve been taking classes this semester to stay in shape and release stress.

2 | Ganesha
A small idol of the god Ganesha. He’s considered to be very lucky for businessmen.

3 | Assam tea
This is the tea I brought from back home. Tea is huge in India.

4 | Vintage teapot
I make chai almost every day. Some people come by just to drink this tea.

5 | Family photo
That’s a photo from a while back of my dad, my mother, me, and my young sister. I remember it was Diwali—the festival of lights, which marks the beginning of the Hindu calendar year.

6 | Passport
This is my ticket back home, my passport. I need that.

7 | Favorite book
I read The Godfather in the eighth grade, and it is my most favorite book, ever. I think I’ve read it more than 100 times. I’m not even joking. I’ve always carried a copy with me.