Pieces of My Life at Teach For India [Summer Institute Diary]
WE GOT HIT BY THE TRUCK (LOADED WITH LOVE)
Sorry readers if you didn’t get the joke; This was for my “TFI-FRIENDS”!!
You might need to join Teach For India to understand our countless senseless yet high-in-humor jokes
So here I take the opportunity of sharing PIECES OF MY LIFE AT Teach For India Summer Institute 1 of 2015 –
The passage to the flame university campus from pune railway station where our 5 weeks summer institute training was supposed to be held seemed like a beautiful corridor of a hill station in northern India. I felt as if I were on some paid vacation to a heavenly resort in God’s own country.
Nature seems to be a permanent resident of this valley. Sun seems to wake up and sleep off in its fluorescent lap. Wind seems to start blowing from the movement of leaves over its long, trailing, dense trees. Birds, dogs, frogs, snakes and humans (of course) seem to live like a happy-family in its warm and conducive ambience.
Almost every hour you meet someone new, someone interesting, someone who bores you, someone who catches your attention, or someone you have a crush on.
I met people from almost all regions, backgrounds, experience, age, color, or anything-else-you-can-think-of. Sometimes, the conversations over dinner tables led me think that I don’t belong here. Or maybe they didn’t belong here. But then I also met people who were echoing my inner feelings, thoughts, choices, interests, disinterests. It was hard to digest that consistent inconsistency in people. However, to my surprise I ended up making a lifetime of friends from both sets of people – who I liked always and who I didn’t like that much initially.
I was also amazed to see the energy and devotion in people who have been part of Teach For India for quite some time now. I felt very little when I saw them working hard day in and day out for us to feel better – BETTER! No one defines the better. It can go from stretching whole night for making charts, to planning next sessions, to thinking hundreds of energizers, to just sitting with fellows to hear their small or great problems.
- CLOUDS OF DOUBTS
Everything seemed mesmerizing; the only, yet the most prevalent, problem is that you wouldn’t get any time –any time at all- to appreciate the beauty, to talk to that someone- to like it or hate it! And that is the time from when the real fun begins.
I felt crazy for first couple of weeks. I have never been a great planner in my life. And here all of a sudden, I am expected to plan every minute of my day. God help me and everyone who has the same feeling.
After attending each class of 75 odd minutes, people used to run around the campus here and there to find their next destination. It seemed as if some war has been kicked off in the border or as if you have to take the next metro which is the last metro apparently.
There were times when I doubted my own interest in the cause, in the way we work here, in the commitment we are expected to offer, in almost everything that was happening. But there were also times when I was sure that that is the place I have wanted whole my life to be in..
- FUN TIME
I have never seen so many colors in my life at one place. I have never realized that colors can add so much to one’s life. At TFI everything has colors, and colors give life to everything.
If you’re super lucky, you will also have your birthday falling in the summer institute itself. I am sure you cannot have an 00:00 am birthday celebration with just a-month-old-friends from all corners of culture, passion, humor, or rigor, with that craziness anywhere else in the world. On your way to the Mess next morning, a bunch of folks whom you have rarely talked, will be singing a Happy Birthday Song for you! But this story doesn’t end here. During your dinner in the cafeteria, on one of your friend announcing your birthday, 500 odd people will be singing your birthday song. I can bet it happens only at TFI!!!!
This article will remain incomplete without my mentioning of those tiny eyes I met on day one of our summer school. I cannot be thankful enough for having those kids as my very first kids for 4 weeks, and for my whole life now. Because the first experience only happens ONCE! And that always is the most special one.
I don’t know if I could teach them anything, but I am sure they have taught me a lot. I see hopes, dreams, joy in their eyes – I see trust, unflinching trust, for me, for us all. I see unconditional love in their words and work. I see the future of my country in their little hands. I see them reaching their potential one day. I see them shaping what India would be 10 years down the line. I can go on and on as this list is never ending.
I am thrilled to get an even bigger classroom of 100 pairs of beautiful eyes that are waiting for me now in the heart of Capital. I hope that I reach my potential to take them to theirs!
Here I try to summarize my biggest takeaway from the institute-
In a world where you can be many things, I hope you be kind.
In a world where you can bring many things, I hope you bring peace to your mind.
In a world where you can build many things, I hope you build relations.
In a world where you can give many things, I hope you give happiness.
In a world where you can get many things, I hope you get love!!!
I feel very lucky today to be associated with an organization that thinks about the country over corruption, people over products, responsibility over richness, purpose over pleasure, and so on. And I really hope this journey makes you feel the same way and better! All the best fellows!
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