Thoughts before a journey

Hey beautiful,

Today, I just want to talk about life, unlike my usual posts here. It’s pretty queer, the situation. My life is going pretty good, and some might even say that it’s amazing but I don’t feel amazing, lately. I think it’s the mixed emotion of feeling nostalgic and a little scared and excited and useless.

Let me give you some backstory here. I am 18 years old, and going to move to my college’s residential campus in 22 days. I have never lived away from home, without my parents for longer than a week so the mere situation freaks me out. I’m really looking forward to the entire independence of it all, but the nervousness right now is like the 2 minutes before a performance.

I have got to know of such amazing people that will be at college so it is really exciting but then again, will I make a good group of friends? Then again, is having a group of friends more important than having many, different friends like I have had till now? I don’t know.

The concept of me living on my own interests me because at home, I’m a messy person and those who suffer from this are really only my family;I don’t mind the mess as long as I clean it soon enough. Will this magically change once I’m in college and my frustrated grandmother doesn’t clean up my bed? I don’t know.
Yesterday, I went to buy some stuff for college and amidst the soap holder and cleaning brush, the shopkeeper asked me if I wanted a rolling pin to make dough, for rotiI felt like I was settling down in a new house or something. “No, OF COURSE not, I don’t need a rolling pin. I’m going to college, not settling down,” I told him, half-scared, half-amused.

Apart from the social factor of living somewhere away from home, the academics in my college excites me. Being the competitive person I am, I’m waiting to see the classroom atmosphere of my college. Yet, I have this lingering debate in my head-what if I’m not good enough for it, or even to compete with it? What if my mental faculties have a dead end somewhere? I rebuttal this with my belief that if really want to do well at something, I will never really give up. Hopefully, this belief stays in those moments of doubt.

I also feel a little useless at this point because I wish I did more with my time. Vacations are “meant” for chilling out but really, what am I doing with these moments of my life when I’m binge-watching Community and eating Chocos till 3 in the morning? I’m doing a few projects but I feel like I’m not doing enough. Maybe the solution is that I need to start journaling again. Yeah I need to do that.

So this is where I am at, standing at the edge of my bed, looking at my unopened empty suitcase, waiting to see if I’m ready to take on the excitement and leave the nervousness for a few days before I leave. Holding one emotion of hope for a good journey sounds like a good idea for me right now.

Yeah, I think I will open my cupboard and start filling the suitcase now.

Until next time,
Charuvi.

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My First Day On The Metro.

CHAPTER ONE: My First Day On The Metro.
For the next chapter, see CHAPTER TWO: Over-ripe, Under-ripe Students.

My first day on the metro. I walked into the compartment with my sister, sat on the spot-free morning seat and looked around. Sophisticated and simple women sat shoulder to shoulder looking high and mighty in their silence. All back to the Monday grind. Sigh, still a few more of these internships, the end of college and I’d be in their place. Hopefully the big window with its fleeting scenery would save me from routine. Full and luscious green trees stood before me each for just a millisecond – looking worse than a few years ago, I’m presuming, but still beautiful.
My sister had a don’t-talk-to-me-before-10am-rule and in my own world of mellow morning music, I thought about what was going to become a unique memory for the future-my first time meeting children from the Nirankari slum. It was the first day of our teaching internship with Save The Children that day and I was anxious about meeting the little ones. They were not more than 14 and so sadly distant from us in their underprivileged lives. Still, here we were, going to teach them something that would link us forever.
Ananya and I got off the metro and took a bus to Shivaji Nagar. The bus journey was hot and uncomfortable but that was just another thing we got used to, by the end. At Shivaji Nagar, an office help was sent to direct us towards the work area in the Muslim-dominated project location. (I learnt later-to my delight-that Kondiba Bhaiya was considered as no less than the other members of the office).
The slum was just surrounding the dumping grounds of the city of Mumbai and there was an immediate stench when we walked into the interiors of the rural-urban setting. I took in the stench as any other local there but I was very conscious of the fact that I was a stranger. Apart from being a resident of a suburban area, something that separated me from Mankud was that I was a different-looking woman in a clean, hygienic state. And that received some cheeky looks and scrutiny.
I walked on the unpaved road amidst locals going for their afternoon namaaz and entered our work area for the next 30 days-a large, blue bus with pull-down tables and a  clean whiteboard.  The children were young, scruffy, eager, talkative and wearing what seemed like yesterday’s clothes.
The first struggle in teaching, I realised, was the difference in language. I was shocked at our lack of complete fluency in Hindi but the teachers at Save The Children helped us out with a few translations here and there. We taught the children the basic education we had taken for granted in our primary schooling and helped them with Math and English specifically.
In our later-afternoon session, we recieved a larger audience of students who had been freed of household chores and afternoon namaaz. I was personally surprised about their ignorance about certain fundamental matters and amazed at their child-like curiosity. Ananya and I asked personal questions to the students in an effort to show that we cared about each one of them.
The day ended with a little staff-room chatter in our bus and a reflection on the huge difference between this life and the life back at home. 29 days to go.

~~~

This is the first post in a series of posts regarding my experiences teaching young children at a difficult slum in Mumbai last year. The experience is close to my heart and I hope you can live it early as well as I did.

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metro