Getting up at 6am has been a bit of a shock to the system for all of us (as we are used to 7am starts). We leave the apartment by 6:45am and Nagaraj (our temporary driver) is waiting outside ready for us.
Nagaraj tackles the early morning Bagalore traffic with ease – beeping, weaving, and swerving through the throng of cars, buses, lorries, Tuk Tuks, motorbikes, mopeds who also beep and weave through the traffic. It’s noisy, hot and chaotic. Driving half asleep here would be a death sentence – you have to have your wits about you. The traffic is light (for Bangalore) at this time in the morning.
After 35 mins we make the turning off the main road onto the cross country road to the school. This is much quieter. We pass farmers fields and street vendors in their make shift huts and tents all selling a variety of food and snacks from the muddy, dusty roadside. Weaving past the wild dogs snoozing in the morning sun and the cows meandering along the road we bump, bounce, off road and drive for the last 10 mins to school. It’s a lovely bit of the school run – tranquil and peaceful away from the noise and chaos of the city traffic.
We finally arrive to the perfectly manicured strip of grass outside the security gate at school. Security is provided by G4S. The car is stopped at the gate whilst security check under the car with a mirror and look in the boot. Only when this is complete can the car proceed into the car park.
To enter the school premises to drop Zahra off we have to pass through another security gate. Here security check you have the school vehicle pass and check who is in the car as well as noting down the vehicle registration. They do this every time (twice a day, every day) without exception. We then drive down to the Primary school car park.
It has taken us 45 mins to get here. I have to do this 4 times a day – 3 hours of my day on a school run.
The school premises and corridors are all open – no doors or walls along the ground floor – just open walkways to let the air through to cool the place (if possible). We drop Zahra off at the junction for her classroom and watch her walk across one of the play areas and up the stairs towards her (air conditioned) classroom.
There are a variety of parents dropping of children. The school buses arrive, almost in convoy, at 7:30am from all over the city. Children jump off excitedly chatting to their friends as the ‘bus monitor’ (an adult) tries to herd them into school.
Children have to be in school for 7:30am and classes start at 7:50am. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes end at 3pm and end at 4pm on Tuesday and Thursday. On Tuesday and Thursday are the compulsory extra curricular activities (a requirement of the international baccalaureate I think). Zahra has elected to do Drama on Tuesday’s and “none fire cooking” on Thursdays. It will be interesting to see what the latter produces.
It’s an early start and a long day – I can see us all being tired by the weekend.