Monday morning begins at 05:30.
My morning is slow and filled with lots of tasks that don’t take much thinking. I get dressed in my work clothes: a kurta and leggings, before I make my way to the washroom to brush my teeth and hair, wash my face, and put on a little bit of makeup. I put on my usual jewelry: 2 rings and a necklace then make my way to the kitchen where the first thing I do after turning on the light is put some water to boil on the stove. I grab my mug to add milk, sugar, and instant coffee before adding the now boiling water to the mix. As I sip on my coffee, I heat up a pan and grab 2 pieces of toast, one to put jam on top of and the other an egg that I cook once my toast is nice and crispy on the outside. I put my toast with their respective toppings on a plate and grab a banana before sitting down at the table to eat. Now is the time I look at my phone. I go through my notifications and reply to messages from friends back home who are now enjoying their evenings. I check my email and scroll through social media until I finish eating and my coffee is finished, then bring my dishes to the sink for washing. This too is a slow process as it is only 06:20 now. I pack my backpack with my water bottle, tiffin filled with parathas from dinner last night, and worksheets for my third standard class while I order a cab that will take me to school. As my cab arrives, I grab a scarf and my backpack and make my way down just one flight of stairs to meet them just before they arrive since I would hate to have him wait on me. I put my headphones in and listen to music on the ten minute ride to my school and watch the sun rise from the window. What’s playing is usually one of two playlists, both of which were made by friends back home, on shuffle. I arrive to school and turn my music off, say thank you to the cab driver, and walk into the school campus where I’m greeted with more kids yelling “didi!” and running at me than I can count. There are lots of high fives, fistbumps, hugs, and even a few kisses on the cheek from the students as I make my way to the office to put my backpack down. I’m usually the first teacher to arrive at school, so I have the opportunity to ask the students as many questions in my broken Hindi as I can before they run off to their morning assembly. I usher them into their lines, separated my grade and gender, and stand by as they start by singing the national anthem that I almost know the lyrics to now. The Teach For India Fellows arrive and we’re talking about our weekends while the students finish reciting the pledge, saying a prayer, and doing some stretches. My slow, mundane tasks of the morning slowly increase to the fast-paced, ever-changing tasks needed in the classroom my Teach For India partner and I somehow manage to keep from bursting into metaphorical flames on the daily.
The morning quickly turns into afternoon and the day continues on until I go to sleep and wake up Tuesday morning at 05:30 and begin my day once again.