Walking the tightrope that is India
I have been here in Kerala for 10 days and wow!, it has passed by as if it were one. Although I have had the amount of experiences that a normal person would have in 20 years, everyday I’m hearing and experiencing things that send my emotions on a rollercoaster ride. But I would not change a second.
Before arriving in India, thanks to my mother’s consistent nagging. I had done some background reading on India. And while this ‘extensive reading’ gave me an idea about this amazing country, my imagination could not even fathom the real essence of the Indian people and the place that they call home.
If asked about my time so far I guess a rough retelling of my first day teaching sport would be accurate enough in depicting my life here. My day starts with my Austrian roommate (and now good friend) in a voice that sounds much like his fellow countryman Arnold Schwarzanegger “You have to get up, listen to me….we have to get out of here.” Any of the terminator movies should give you a pretty accurate idea of my morning wake up. And with a voice like that there was, and still is, no arguing. The day had begun.
After a quick breakfast and a ‘pep talk’ we were climbing into the tuk tuk which is always the first part of the rollercoaster that is everyday. My first tuk tuk ride is somewhat of a blur. There are many reasons for this, ranging from the tears rolling down my face as I thought that each turn would be my last, to the mutterings of ”I’m too young to die” coming from my wide eyed sister sitting next to me. It is hard to describe the tuk tuk ride, but the closet comparison I have is to slalom skiing down a sheer cliff face. But anyway we arrived at the school and I was only too ready to get my feet onto solid ground again. And there I stood at the schools front gate ready for the challenge.
In front of me lay a swarm of kids, like bees descending on their hive, they buzzed in all directions. And just as I was contemplating my way through the swarming mass, like Moses walking through the parting of the red sea, the Indian Chuck Norris strolled through the mass and grabbed my hand. With his very impressive moustache he is a man in very good shape for his age. “I am coach, you?” he asked. “Alex I said and you?”. He looked at me through those Chuck Norris eyes and replied “I am coach”. And that settled it, coach was coach. Many of us believe that he was born “coach” and will be forever “coach”. Although some do debate this theory. Either way it was coach who was to help me with my sports coaching at the school.
After discovering and but uncovering nothing about coach I was whisked up to the staff room. As I was dragged off upstairs I couldn’t help looking over my shoulder at coach trudging off to what could have been the Texan sunset. My stay in the staff room was brief as my new Terminator / roommate grabbed my shirt and told me “we have to get out of here RUN!!!” And off I sprinted thinking only an alien invasion was warranted for this much urgency. We came to an abrupt stop on the football field out the back of the school.”They are here” he said in a low voice. “Holy cow!” what have I got myself in for. Cows are holy In India before you judge my English!. Then out of the corner of my eye I caught my first glimpse of my class emerging from the dust. The class consisted of boys 11 and 12 girls and this is the class that I would in closest contact with. My first class was also a blur in a very different context. Never have I seen such enthusiasm from kids that have been given so little. These kids were from a joining orphanage some of them had been caught in transit to be put to work in factory’s when they were brought in. So to see those smiling faces is something that I will treasure forever. All this I had experienced before 2nd period…..To be continued.
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