I Came From India with a Big Overcoat | Udita Banerjee


Remember Udita Banerjee from our Udita Goes International series?

Catch up on the beginning of her journey here and here.

I came from India with a big overcoat. Today, as I write this in Edinburgh a little over seven months later, I look at it. It looks well-worn and much loved.

It has a tear in a corner from when I caught it on my trek up to Arthur’s seat.

A part of the inner foam has shifted from when I landed on the hard ground after I slipped on frozen snow; I had never seen snow before, I was excited.

I lost a button when I missed a train for the first time here. I didn’t know that sometimes, trains only have about 40 seconds on a platform. My button has probably travelled thousands of miles by now.

The inner pocket is bursting at the seams. I fill it with notes from lectures, hardware boards, and stationery. Things that have become such an integral part of everyday life that I need to have them on me all the time.

The outer pockets are usually filled with sea glass from Gullane and shells from Berwick.

The hood has a permanent hair clamp mark on it. Edinburgh is so windy that I have to clamp my hair in place even with the hood on.

To inhale the smell is to capture a whiff of mulled spices, memories of a fantastic traditional Christmas.

The body has wax marks from the Edinburgh Hogmanay Torchlight festival. 40,000 people with fire brands walked along the city roads keeping warm from the flames. The cold made my fingers so numb that I couldn’t feel wax on them as it dripped from my fire brand.

I have it on in my pictures at castles and clock towers, bridges and churches, trains and buses.

Most of my waterproof coat is still clean, though, for so many experiences have already washed away: it is a rainy country that pours memories upon me, for which I am grateful. 

Udita Banerjee is 23 year old Indian whose closest friends suspect her of being British in all her previous births. She loves tea and poetry, and hates chai.

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