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Diary Of A Teach For India Fellow : Transformation Of Self

By Pranav Sukhija
Fellow, Teach for India
Having spent the past year and a half working with so many diverse individuals, all from different backgrounds but with the same drive and vision to provide an excellent education to all children in the nation, as a fellow with Teach for India and as a teacher in a municipal school in the national capital, I can confidently say that I have had some of the most uplifting, pleasurable, rewarding and magical as well as the most upsetting, depressing, challenging and overwhelming moments and experiences of my life. The struggles in the school, the hit-and-trials in the classroom, the conversations with my friends, the love of my children, the agony of failed goals, the respect from society, the reflective moments in enlightening silences, the pleasure of giving, sharing and loving - everything has grown on me, everything has somehow made an impact somewhere, everything has contributed in reshaping me as an individual.
In this column, I look back at two specific events in my fellowship which really resonated with me, moved me, challenged me and left me transformed forever.   

The Institute (our training programme) at FLAME, Pune
Before going there, I had little idea about the Institute and was nervous about living away from family for more than a month. Once I was in there, I hardly felt the need to phone my folks and friends back home. The memories of those thirty five days of sheer madness, sheer magic and powerful energy hold a special place in my heart. I met the most inspiring and amazing people, took up the most difficult challenges, including teaching in a school for the first time, spent nights after nights chatting and sharing with the people I was with, understood what it meant to be a transformational teacher, relearned some of those long-forgotten, invaluable lessons of life and reflected on what it means to serve your people. We used to sleep in the wee hours of the night, wake up with the rising sun, work so hard, plan so much, share shamelessly, trust each other blindly, eat heartily and thrive generously. I was a totally different person after attending the Institute. I came back with a unique blend of positivity, inspiration, passion and energy which was so powerful, it reflected in my relationships and connections with other people.

The Annual Retreat in Ahmadabad at Gandhi Ashram

When I think of Ahmadabad, I think of Gandhi ji and his contributions and sacrifices, Jayesh bhai, Indicorps fellows, and the ideas of being selfless, practicing universal love, and serving your people till your last breath. I think of Savita ben and her gracious family, which hosted me, fed me, sheltered me and took utmost care of me. I had found a home away from home. I think of those little children growing up in a tiny community, being caressed and fed by loving anganwadi workers. I think of the people I instantly connected with, the long conversations we had, the food we ate and the piping hot chais we drank so many times in the day. I also think of the meditative and mindful impact of this journey on my psyche; I practically spent the whole time in the train silently reading a book of poetry, and writing verses in my notebook. The retreat was a journey within.

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Pranav Sukhija
Pranav Sukhija is a Teach for India fellow, a prolific writer and an explorer of everything that the world offers. When not working, he spends most of his time thinking about his kids and school and strives hard to give them a high quality education. He is a people's person and gets along well with most people. He loves taking out time to connect with friends and acquaintances and derives energy and power from them. He'd be very happy to connect with you, too. Please write to him at


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