I have about three weeks left of my grant. Life has really slowed down since the earlier days or even just a couple of months ago when I felt like I couldn’t even get a second to breathe. This week is the last week that I will be seeing a lot of my students. I’m really not ready to face the gravity of that prospect.
As for my life outside of school, there isn’t too much going on, aside from preparing for post-grant travel and life. I have desired a regular routine for so long but everything was so sporadic that I could not depend on too much regularity, especially after school. These days however things have really calmed down. I finally have that daily routine that I wanted.
6:15 am: I begin to stir. Our apartment is dreadfully close to the elevator and it makes a ridiculous high pitched beeping noise whenever the elevator doors are open. I can hear people getting into the elevator from the first floor, shutting the doors, opening the doors (more beeping) and slamming the doors again. Our paper man usually comes around this time to deliver our daily copies of The Telegraph and The Times of India. Shortly after, at around 6:30, the trash man comes. He usually rings the doorbell to let me know that he’s there. If I don’t respond after two rings, he leaves. I used to wake up ridiculously early (before the sun) to do a full yoga practice with meditation, pranayama and asana but as it grew colder, I found it more difficult to get out of bed in the mornings and I would just go to sleep after taking the trash out. Now that it has gotten warmer. I am slowly getting back into the habit of getting on my mat for at least a few sun salutations.
8:00 am: I prefer to take a bucket bath since I can make the water nice and hot. When I take a shower, the water is usually scalding hot for one minute and then it remains luke warm for the rest of the shower. After I shower and get dressed in my salwar suit, I eat breakfast which is usually oatmeal with a few almonds tossed in.
8:30/9:00 am: If I decide to walk to school I leave at 8:30. If I decide to take the bus, I leave around 9. Regardless of whether I walk or take the bus, I always stop at my favorite cha stand for some milky, sweet tea. I’ve grown very fond of all the different wallahs that dot the footpaths of S.P. Mukherjee road– the stationary wallah, the fruit wallah at the corner, the newspaper wallah–out of all of them the female chai wallah is my favorite.
The walk to school takes about one hour. It is pleasant for the most part. My path takes me along the outskirts of Rabindra Soravar Lake and through the neighborhood leading to Gariahat crossing. Sometimes, at the end of my walk– just about one block from school–I stop to buy bread that is roasted over a coal stove with margarine and a little sugar sprinkled over it.
I have a good range of buses to choose from when it comes to going to school. There are two that drop me off right in front of the school and a few others that stop at the major crossing a few blocks away. My favorite bus is the air-conditioned airport bus. Its a little more costly, 20 rupees as opposed to 6, but it is a lot less crowded and the air-conditioning makes a huge difference.
9:40 am: School starts at 9:40. I share many of my classes with the other teachers. In the beginning, many of the teachers would come with me to class and sit at the back as I taught. But now, I regularly take the classes on my own. Unfortunately, my time in the classroom with my English and General Knowledge classes has been limited since most of those teachers need to finish the syllabus and give exams. As a result, I have been finding myself in the staff room for long periods of time. This used to not matter as I had so many English Language Formative Assessments to grade. But now, I have finished with those so I usually just read, doodle or ‘rest my eyes’.
We usually have thirty minutes for lunch. I, like most of the teachers, usually bring leftovers but sometimes I order something like veg chowmein or luchi and aloo dum from outside.
3:15 pm: School ends. I usually hop on a bus to the gym/yoga studio. I joined a gym in January and it is conveniently located right next to the yoga studio that I go to. The gym has a really nice locker room with awesome showers. The warm shower in January is what sold me. Going to the gym was the best way to guarantee that I was showered in the winter because it was just too cold for a bucket shower even though the water was hot.
7:30ish: I come back home and eat dinner. Because its pretty late, I don’t like to prepare anything too fancy or heavy. On Sundays I usually cook a lot of food and then I eat the leftovers during the week. If there is no food in the house I pick up some on the way home from one of the little hotels or we order in.
My roommate and I sometimes watch a little TV after dinner. Our favorite channel is Romedy Now. Its romantic comedies all the time.
10:00 pm: I usually retreat to my room. I prefer to go to bed within the hour so that I can wake up early and do it all over again.