“It is time to wake up. It is 6.30” my alarm goes with the most annoying, monotonous
voice I’ve heard. Had this been a perfect world, there would have been birds
and sunshine waking me up. But it is not. And I start my day finding a new way
to kill my alarm clock.
I have managed to crawl my way out of my pink bunkbed, in my all-pink room. I
have dressed and I am now ready to hunt for anything eatable that does not
contain rice and takes less than 30 seconds to make. It usually ends up with a
slice of bread, without anything on it, out of pure laziness.
I walk out of the apartment, and through the beautiful, Spanish-inspired
township I live in. I mumble a “namaskar” to the guards, and in return I get
big smiles and hands on their hearts. I never notice anything else (except the
6 new puppies that live by the gates) than the beautiful morning sun, shining
low over Baner. It is foggy(smoggy?), red and hypnotizing.
Every day is a gamble. Will the bus show up today or not? If it does, I jump on
in speed and try to fit my body among the huge amount of other humans going in
the same direction. Here I am met with the early morning smile from the ticket
seller, who stopped asking where I was going a couple of months ago, and now
just gives me the ticket before I even have my money ready.
Here I sit with the locals, who are really curious about why a foreigner is
taking the cheapest of the cheapest and most unpractical and uncomfortable
transport. I just think it is fun.
The morning assembly starts at school, which includes everything from today’s
news, quizzes, birthday songs, prayers, gymnastics, marching, and of course
singing of the national anthem and the national slogan.
“Didi, didi, didi, Stina didi, diiiiidiiii, dididiiiiii. Didi….” It all starts.
Between 7-20 kids stand around me. Some are hugging me, dragging in my arms and
trying to get my attention. Then there are those who are shyer, who run away
whenever I turn around to them. It is always the same:
“Didi, what is your name?
Can you say kamila patila?
Where are you from, didi?
Do you have brothers and sisters? How many? What are their names? What are your
Please say kamila patila once more.
Can you dance?
Just one more time kamila patila.”
Kamila patila apparently means pots and pans in Marathi, and
after so many weeks it is still hilarious that I can’t say it (or do I say it
very well?). I don’t understand it, and I am not sure if I ever will, but I
will continue to say it to make these small people in yellow uniforms laugh.
Attempts on beginning the classes happens, and is usually failed. I have one
English writing class each day, for different standards. These usually consist
of me teaching for 5-10 minutes, where at least half of that is attempts on
making the class listen. Then they write random things for the rest of the
lesson, while I go around trying to inspire and correct.
For lunch I go with the other Teach for India fellows to a street food stall,
where we eat different Indian food either including rice or being deeply fried.
When I don’t have class, and no one needs me to assist them with a class, I
hand out in different classrooms, or wander around in the hallway having
non-sense conversations with the students who are thrown out of their classes.
School officially ends, and we either have extra classes or I leave out into
the hot, Indian sun.
Here it all depends on how worn out I am by the end of the day, after hours of
being a superstar for the kids, and at
the same time try to control their behavior for a little while. If I am tired,
I go home, and have lunch with my host mother. If I am not, I either join one
of the students home to hang out, or eat with their families. Other times I hang out with other teachers
after school, having lunch and gossiping. And sometimes I explore this big city
on my own.
I find a rickshaw, and after negotiating a price much higher than what it
should be, as I live where no one wants to go (Indian version of the Norwegian
“Der ingen skulle tru at nokon kunne bu”). We bump our way home through the
Indian traffic, with our hearts in our throats at least once every 3rd
minute, filling our lungs with polluted air.
I am greeted by my host brother, who always has something new to show me or
tell me about.
I eat dinner with the host father, having long discussions about anything and
everything. Food is the same every day; rice, daal, chapatti and subsi. I have
eaten this twice a day for four months now, and I still love it.
I finish my things, pack my bag, make a lesson plan for the next day or finish
off some other work
I crawl up in my bed, and fall asleep like a baby.