A journey called life. It sounds lofty and tedious but really it’s like a dream that goes by before you have the time to wake up and lock it into memory. I think most of us were about seven years old when we joined the school at the edge of Delhi and UP. The principal an ex-military man never tired of telling us-“ Jesus was born in a barn and our school was born in a godown.” Those were the days when we would jump out of the school bus and run to our favourite swing with our favourite friend. Sometimes the bus was late and someone else had your precious swing but the disappointment didn’t last for more than a few seconds because you still had your favourite friend by your side.
I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of you have that elusive childhood friend that you just can’t find now despite google, facebook , linkedin and a plethora of networking sites on the world wide web. Once in a while you catch yourself thinking about those childhood games like iggo duggo, pitthu phod and ice pice(eyes spy) and you wonder if your friend is married with children. Do you remember a special school bag that you carried? I had a small green attaché that I used to carry during exams only because it wouldn’t hold my regular load of books. The most wonderful thing about exams was the fact that there were no classes afterwards and the moment an exam got over there was a riot that was hard to contain.
Then there were break time. Food and water especially in summer were of great importance. A lot of us finished our food in the 10 min short break and then raided other people’s lunches shamelessly. We drank cool water in the heat causing the owner of a certain brown bottle to scream,”Who drank my water?” The thing is some people would actually not share their cool water and caused some others to make them pay for it. Then there was arm wrestling very often amongst the boys of course while the girls played a game called elastic. Remember that game anyone?
And we all grew together and so did the school. All of us fell in love at some time or the other with someone. I remember a particular someone sitting in class on the 3rd floor looking lovingly at his special someone on the 1st floor with his back to the teacher. I think the teacher said something witty and sarcastic that I just can’t remember. It was all well if you were in love with your own classmate but if you liked your senior you had to keep going around the hexagon in circles till you got a glimpse of the loved one or even better if he/she said two words to you in which case you smiled like an idiot the whole day for a very good reason. Our school was really quite hard on love. It was a bad thing and our hormones were to be kept in check at all times. We could play sports, do dramatics, study, sing, run, write articles even poems but God forbid that we should fall in love. Parents were called and punishments were of a wide variety.
Well I have come to the end of the quota given to me to write this. I would have liked to include names but I don’t have space. The point is when I look back I realize that we were all unique and together we made a fantastic and extremely interesting lot. Some of us excelled at sports, some at studies, some were wonderful actors and some were just wonderful people. Nostalgia should be indulged in small doses so let me say that I am so fortunate to be in touch with all of you and I wish your children would be in schools where they study, play, act, run, kick, laugh, find friends and fall in love, so when you hear the teacher complain remember there’s a small scared kid standing outside. He’s just like you.