Back in India, working as an engineer, Vishnu Prahalad came to know the man who brought him coffee. One day they were talking, and Vishnu learned that he made more rupees with his transportation allowance than his friend made for his entire salary.

It wasn’t just the inequality. Vishnu wanted an escape from the concrete, the noise, the fumes and the ‘busy-ness as religion’ quality of big city life. He decided to go back to school, somewhere new. A friend suggested Australia, and Vishnu ended up pursuing graduate studies in engineering in a place he had never heard of - the University of Tasmania.

Not long after arriving, he switched his area of study to applied sciences and has focused on wetlands. He now has a PhD, lectures at the University of Tasmania, and has launched a not-for-profit enterprise called Living Wetlands.

The friend who had suggested Australia came to visit five years after Vishnu arrived in Tasmania. He noticed a change in Vishnu. He was calmer, more passionate and connected to his work, more thoughtful.

“We were on a bushwalk and he said to me, ‘Now I know why you have changed so much.’ I had gone from being cynical, overworked, exhausted and uninterested to being… successful and happy. It would not have happened in India. It would not have happened in another big city. My friend said, ‘This place did it to you.’”

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