A Day in Hyderabad

Jack Swartzentruber - India


March 20, 2019

A Day in Hyderabad

Here’s a quick snapshot of an average day of my life in Hyderabad.

7:00 am

Every day I wake up at 7 am to do my morning chores. Usually my job is to
walk over to the hibiscus tree nearby to our house and pick the flowers
that my family uses for pooja (Hindu ritual prayer), and then water the
plants in our garden. This takes about twenty minutes, and then after
coming back and getting ready for school I enjoy a cup of coffee and an
amazing breakfast prepared by my host grandmother (Ammama). I usually have
a traditional South Indian breakfast, which consists of either dosa, idli,
or puri and a chutney. My favorite thing to have in the morning is dosa (a
very wide, thin Indian pancake) with my ammama’s peanut chutney.

8:30 am

After I’ve eaten and said goodbye, I head out to my job working with Teach
for India (TFI) as an assistant teacher in a third grade class. The school
I work at is in a different part of the city from where I live, so everyday
I make the 15 minute walk out to the main road and then take the Hyderabad
metro to a stop right by my school’s neighborhood. The roads get very busy
around rush hour, so I have to be watchful of all the cars, rickshaws,
motorcycles weaving around each other.

9:10 am

Once I get to school, I spend a couple minutes getting settled in and
saying hello to my kids. We have 45 kids in our class, so there’s never a
shortage of noise and excitement in our classroom. Although they can be
hard to manage at times, it’s been so amazing getting to know them and
sharing this experience. At this point, I couldn’t imagine working with
another group of students. In the classroom, I spend most of the time
giving individual attention to the kids while the teacher is teaching. This
means reading with them, tutoring those who are having trouble with certain
concepts, and making sure they’re getting their work done. I also spend a
fair amount of time grading homework and putting test scores into the
official record.

11:30 am

At 11:30 the kids have Telugu class which means I get lunch break early. I
often bring lunch from home that I eat in the teacher’s room, but I also
enjoy walking around the neighborhood and discovering new places to eat and
drink chai. Over the last couple of months I’ve become a regular at this
cafe that’s just a couple blocks from where I work. They have amazing fried
noodles, and some of the best Irani chai I’ve had here (Irani chai is a
specific type of milk tea that was brought to India by immigrants from Iran
in the 20th century, and is especially well-known in Hyderabad). I’ve had a
lot of great conversations just by sitting on the curb drinking chai and
talking to whoever’s around me.

3:00 pm

School lets out at around 3 every day, and I usually have some time before
my second apprenticeship starts, so I like to spend part of the afternoon
hanging out at an amazing park that’s about a 15 minute walk away from my
school. It’s full of beautiful trees and flowers, and offers some refuge
from the motion and noise of the city.

4:00 pm

I work at Rubaroo, which is a non-profit social organization with its sole
office in Hyderabad. They specialize in youth development programs, and
have a range of camps, seminars and workshops for teenage and college-aged
youth pertaining to important social issues. Lately, I’ve been helping to
organize art competitions on the topic of child marriage at schools around
the city.

6:00 pm

Usually after the office closes, I get a a snack (tiffin) at a place on the
way to the metro station. My favorite thing to get is puri, which is kind
of like a puffy, deep-fried bread which is served with potato and coconut
curries. Once I’m at home, I like to relax after a long day, read a book,
or see what Telugu soap opera my host grandmother is watching.

Although this is just what an average weekday looks like for me, every day
is always different and full of surprises, whether it be from the kids at
school, someone I meet on the street, or a new experience I have with my
friends. Even though I’ve been living in this city for almost seven months,
it continues to feel new and exciting every day.
[image: Image-1.jpg]
A view of our city from the State Gallery of Art.
<mail.google.com/mail/u/0?ui=2&ik=628c6bcbb5&attid=0.1&permmsgid=msg-f:1628502754758822226&th=16999aa095250952&view=att&disp=safe>

Jack Swartzentruber