This past week saw Children’s Day celebrated in India on November 14th, and it reminded me of a piece I had written after watching an episode of the serial, Yeh Un Dinon Ki Baat Hai, where the leads were celebrating their last day of school. Little knowing that they were celebrating the day that separates childhood from adulthood. Which is what it feels like to me when I look back.
That episode had evoked a plethora of nostalgic memories for me. The excited, yet nervous, anticipation of the life that lies ahead. Taking the first tentative step towards adulthood, while still largely clueless about what it really entails. Our mind’s eye visualising glorious days free from the shackles of rigorous discipline, little realising that the freedom will come steeped in responsibility.
School days had a charm all of their own.
The special thrill of a martinet of a teacher calling in sick. Free time never tastes as sweet now.
The untrammelled joy of rains causing school to close for the day. Allowing us to spend the day with friends, playing tag with the waves on Marine drive while eating bhuttas. Why does walking there not feel the same anymore.
The piling into a car in unbelievable numbers because no one wanted to be the one left out of the fun en route. When did we start seeing that as being squashed.
The careful pooling of our monies to hang out at Sea Lounge with one bhel and two cold coffees with ice cream between ten of us. Just because we could.
And one day it all changes. Just like that.
It’s funny how literally overnight our mental equation with our school, our teachers, our friends, changes. Indulgence casts a halcyon glow over all perceived ills of the past years, as we laugh them away in the glow of hindsight and perspective.
The crazy fun of writing messages on uniforms, the running up and down of school corridors casting pitying glances at the juniors still slogging away, the persuading of the peon to divert the staff room chai to us, the mental bonfire of all the needlework we had been made to do (would have been literal if we could find all the pieces!), the pang of knowing we may now never see so many of the people who had been an intricate part of our lives since forever.
The last day of the best days of our life.
Sach mein, un dinon ki baat kuch alag hi thi…
I would love to hear of your special memories of your school days. Be they from the hazy distant past, or the not too long ago. They remain ensconced in a special corner of our hearts, don’t they? As Gulzar has written, “Ae Umr, kuch kaha maine, par shayad tu ne suna nahi, tu chheen sakti hai bachpan mera, par bachpana nahi.”