I still distinctly remember the day when I was standing in the newly renovated New Delhi station and was busy sulking about the day’s events. Little did I realize of the all important lesson I was about to learn and which would later actually make me thank the fact that my day had been bad. Starting right from the fact that my Rajdhani to Mumbai which was supposed to depart at 10 in the morning was delayed till late evening to the fact that I was tired beyond words and had no place to go, I knew that it was one of your days where everything just has to go wrong no matter what. Why else would the otherwise flawless Rajdhani get delayed by more than 14 hours(all thanks to the amazing Gujjars, may they never get reservation) and force me to spend an entire day in a city filled up with so many memories of my heart-ripping fresh breakup. Coming back then to talking about the incident which deeply impacted my heart and mind and made me question the very status-quo of my existence.
So, I was on platform no. 3 waiting for my Rajdhani. Standing beside me was a really decent crowd of affluent people all of which looked quite well off. The crowd was buzzing off with hot topics of economics, finance, government policies, etc. I was very quietly eavesdropping on all their conversations and learning all that I could from their vast experiences. It was then that a Shatabdi Express pulled up in a platform behind me; this train was making its way from Jaipur. Since Delhi was its final destination, the people in charge started taking off the goods from the train’s pantry. I was finding the way they were taking off goods in such a speedy fashion really amusing (I don’t know why).
I noticed a really small kid appear out of nowhere and suddenly grab a whole carton of new mineral water bottles. He then broke into a run and came and hid at a place just near me. There, he hurriedly opened the carton and distributed the bottle in the bags to his friends who stuffed it in their shirts or up their pants and then he told them to sell it off to the vendor outside. I was both shocked and amazed by the kid. The maturity of the kid as such an early age was fascinating. However, what had forced him to be so shrewd at an age which is known for its innocence was what shocked me. The crowd near me, who had also been a spectacle to the whole scene now broke into loud discussions as to how such kids pose a threat to the country’s future, how they should be arrested and taught a lesson, how such kids are a nuisance for everyone. As for me, the only thing that had stuck on was the kid’s sweet face; the discussions of the seemingly intellectual and experienced co-passengers didn’t make any sense to me. All I wanted to know was: What had driven the kid to resort to stealing and living such a life. Did he even have parents, why wasn’t he in a school studying? Didn’t he deserve a childhood filled with sweet memories of family, toys or the love of all around him, why was his childhood such. What future did this child have and where would this childhood’s experiences take him. The big question that was really bogging my mind was: What had I done better in my life to deserve all that I had. The answer was nothing, it was all due to just chance that I was born in a well off family and that kid in such conditions. Now, who am I to challenge chance or things that are beyond my control but I could change the way the kid’s childhood progressed but yet again how could I as a person who hadn’t even started earning his bread and butter do that.
I also felt frustrated with the fact that all the well-off people around me were so busy talking, talking and talking about the problem that none of them wanted anything to do with even discussing its solution. My train came, I got up, however, even though I was very tired but still sleep evaded me. All that was playing in my mind was the guilt of just being a spectator all my life; I had realized that I was no better than any of the other people around me for I wasn’t really doing anything. Just thinking about that kid would never be a solution. There and then I decided to work in the field of primary education. I also realized that we all have the capability to bring about a positive change, all we need to do is take a decision and start from within and stick to it.
I then joined Teach for India since it perfectly aligned with my goals and also I really like the way it functions as an organization. This is one decision I know I will never regret in my life and I hope I would be able to do something good with it.
2 thoughts on “The calling : Why i joined Teach for India”
I truly empathize with your feelings… now we have this big responsibility on our shoulders to fill colors and a sense of possibility in those kids’ lives…and I know together we can, we will.
Oh, how I know it–the heart of a teacher….wonderful story!