Pharmacy for a Fijian

Varsha Sharma

The group of islands merged in the erratic pristine giant oceanic waves offers the cocktail fiesta of natural wonder. Golden sandy beaches and swaying coconut trees, rainforest has all brewed in the layers of unique cultural history of the soil. Fijians who are known for their dancing tunes of ‘Bula’ welcome their guests with their traditional greeting.

Republic of Fiji is a multi-cultural island with the culture of Oceanic, South Asian, European and East Asian origins.

Earlier, Fiji Island was called as Cannibal Isles because of the inhabitants who were ferocious in nature. It was discovered by a Dutch Explorer Abel Tasman in 1643.
Until 1970, Fiji was a British colony. Tourism is the backbone of Fijian economy. The land is known for garment and sugar factories, besides it is also rich in gold, coconut oil and seafood.

Fiji culture is the mixture of ancient traditions and rituals. The ancient culture of Fiji dates back to the era of Melanesians and Polynesians who were part of the revolutionary process of highly developed society before the advent of Europeans.

The serene peaceful land has many villages to ramble over the fascinating splendor of the island. Traditional languages, food, clothing, music, dance are all core of Fijian culture. People from different parts of India came to Fiji to work as laborers at sugarcane plantations and after their term of service many remained in Fiji.

They are now called as Indo-Fijians.

Here is Varsha Sharma from the Indo-Fijian origin, who has come to India to study pharmacy unraveling the mysteries of Fijian culture and sharing her experiences in India…

Why did you opt to study pharmacy in India?

I had two options before me, New Zealand and India for my higher education. I opted for India because India gives a sense of home land and security of simple living.
Besides, the educational expenses in India is very less when compared to New Zealand and also Fiji. We have to pay more in Fiji for higher education.

What did you study in Fiji before coming to India?

I did my 12th standard with physics, chemistry and maths. I wanted to study medicine. Somehow I was not able to get a seat for medicine and my next option was pharmacy.

What are your experiences in India?

I am more comfortable in India. I don’t feel that I am away from home.
The stay is really wonderful as people here make it easier.

How do you find the culture and family system in India?

It is very much similar to Fiji. We Indo-Fijians as well as the original inhabitants of the island, Lapita give more importance to the family.

“We have close bond with family members. We respect elders and we share every happy occasion with all family members.”

“It is very much same that I have come across in India.”

How about Indian food?

It is too spicy. I had difficulty to get adjusted in the beginning and I had to struggle a lot to settle down. Food in Fiji is not as spicy as that of in India. We use similar food stuffs back at home. I like butter chicken very much.

Did you like Indian traditional outfits?

Of course I liked saris and chudidars. Women look more beautiful in sari. In Fiji, jeans dominate the fashion trend.

What is the system of government in Fiji and what do you feel about Indian political system?

It is military rule in Fiji and the local population don’t really support democracy. I have very less idea about Indian politics.

Would you recommend India for studies to your friends?

Surely. It is the most beautiful place with friendly people who never let you feel lonely far away from home.

What are your future plans?

I will go back home next year. Pharmacy is a four year course and I am in India since 3 years. I will be a pharmacist in Fiji.    

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