How Does Working in Social Sector in India Look Like? – Teach For India Fellow’s Journey

It’s been one full year now – with my kids, their parents, the community, the school-staff, as a Didi and as a Teach For India – Fellow. My life has changed in almost infinite ways.

From travelling in air-conditioned cabs and sitting whole day in an air-conditioned office to waiting for overcrowded buses and walking through the filthy, stinky roads (yes, you read it right), life seems to be a roller-coaster.  I hated the idea of using the public transport in Delhi ever in my life. I could never stand the smell of that air, the stare of those indecent eyes, or the touch of you-know-what-I-mean.

I could never see the dirt of Dilli from behind the black-glasses of the four-wheelers I roamed around the city. I never had my clothes wet from the splashing of water by the SUV’s while one walks on the road to get on a bus. I was always the one who was sitting inside the comfort of those cars, indifferent to the chaos that goes on in the city roads during monsoon, summer, winter or any other weather for that matter. My relentless efforts of surviving through the month with the current pay cheque, which is almost one-fourth of my previous salary, is an icing on the cake.

At times, the smell of your own sweat can suffice to make you hate the job, its derived pleasure and every other reason you chose this sector for. Your mornings will often start very early, with a phone call from one or other student or their parents. On days, you wouldn’t know where you’re headed to; why you’re sailing in this big ocean where the harbour is never conspicuous; you would doubt your own intentions; you may feel deceited, or dragged behind ‘others’ – your friends (or let’s say nobody’s) who are running unstoppably in the endless race of pay, promotion, pleasure or prestige.

They will take your whole day. You will get numerous invitations from every kid you know from your classroom. They will bring your favourite dishes on their birthdays. When you visit, they will get their houses decorated as if God himself is coming over for a luncheon. They will love you like nobody ever could do that way. They will talk about you everytime they talk to anybody. They will become your life, and you, theirs.

You would realize by the end of one year you have gotten nothing, or may be everything your kids have now belongs to you. You would become indifferent to all the craps of your life, or get interested in the things that really matter, to you, and to your kids. You will know nothing but your job. You will care for nothing but your kids.

You will probably see a world that you have never seen before. You will feel alive, and more importantly, you will learn to feel, for the first time – for Yourself!

You don’t work here because anybody needs you. You come here only because you need it more than anybody else!



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