Saturday, November 7, 2009

Its A Long One....about...Once Upon A Time...

It is amazing when you have a genuine excuse to step into the past for a while. The past that we have cherished forever, the past that we were afraid to pass away then, the past we know would never come again.

First thing I tried to find while driving in to the School was the missing ‘bhelwala’ who used to sit under a tree that divided the English and Hindi medium buildings. I wondered what would have happened to him because he never missed a day under that tree.
A feeling of dejavu ran through me as I was walking past the vehicle parking where I used to drag my bicycle as a junior and zoom my scooty as a senior, the playground where I did ‘bhaigiri’ along with my friends, the classes where I did everything that was possible from studying to bunking to eating and praying, the passage where I voluntarily kneeled down to accompany my friends (its true), it was just like I really belong to this place.
The smell of delicious ‘samosas’ still frying in wok filled me with nostalgia. We were three friends in three different sections who wouldn’t miss to unite in the two recesses and lunch of school schedule. If it was raining, we used to stare at each other from the distance between two blocks waiting for the rain to slow down. Messing with samosawala for each penny or claiming a free piece as regular customers, we soon became friendly with him only to fight again.

‘Good Morning Sir’ came the rhythmic song urging me to join the class. It was a routine when our class teacher used to grumble on the rhythmic greeting and asked to greet just normally, well we hardly cared and simply scoffed at that idea of hers because we found it already normal!
Best part about this school is the freedom that students enjoy as their birth right. Being a Salemite is like an individual breed I realised when a student with loose tie and untucked collar button stood before me while I was chatting with the V.Princi. “Do you know she is your senior and now a media person. What would she report if you show indiscipline like this. C’mon now put your tie on place”, pestered Princi. I somehow knew what the guy must be thinking as I was in his place one day. “Huh, senior, who cares shes media or doctor. Aaj to school humse haina, bussssss, load nai. Bade aaye!” exactly this. He gave a typical Salemite’s mischeviously naughty smile, simply touched his tie in order to respect what Princi said and DIDN’T do anything. Haha, I knew it I said to myself. We are Masters of our own, a Salemite again proved it. (You won’t believe I am still smiling)

It was a moment of pride when I found that our successors didn’t fail to treasure the prosperity that we maintained at our time. Then came the strangling moment when again I could read students’ mind who were called for introduction. (In the meantime, I forgot my purpose of visiting school and just enjoyed the ambience) Princi started to endlessly praise me before them that I heard for the first time in my lifetime. As a student I with my two friends was the most annoying, notorious and interrupting elements in his class and tutions. It was a surprise that he has such sublime thoughts for me. But this didn’t made me proud even a bit because secretly I knew Salemites resist to hear other’s admiration as they are well aware it could never be theirs’. They just hate this. They are least concerned in this regard. “Uufff pinchu please spare us and let us go. There is no time to waste. You enjoy na, Darad! (Pain)” am sure was their thought. But to hide irritation they said “Sir can we go, we have Chemistry practicals,” (Ah! Kudos Salemites turned sincere….that too for practicals?????? Incredible, I wouldn’t believe it even if they give me a crore rupees. This post could be boring for the readers but definitely not for Salemites, I bet.

I remember, we cared a lot about what we would have in lunch because our tiffins would finish by then, we hogged it over while the lectures were on. It was hilarious when I was luckily on fast and other two friends religiously tried to finish the food in class being proxy-d by a dangerously strict teacher. It was the day of thunderstorm on a friend who failed to swallow the big bite she had in her mouth while the teacher caught only her and not the other culprit. Sslapp!! We were stunned at this unexpected reaction of the teacher. It was both a moment of laughter (after seeing my friend’s face and the mouth still with that half chewed bite) and consolation towards the victim. But today she laughs with us at this Kodak click instance.

When I saw two boys on their knees, right in the same place and out of the same class facing Principal’s office where I spent my last year as a student, it reminded me of the day when we were caught laughing in the class and sentenced to stand out. As it turned into an uncontrollable laugh we were afraid to be seen by principal. Guess what we did! We eloped. Bunking the class and punishment, we went to the school hall to help other students rehearsing for farewell. We escaped happily.

You must be thinking that I with my friends was a real brat who bugged the life off from teachers and all but no dear friends, we were also darlings for many of them, maintaining a good profile too. This I strongly realised after visiting the school recently when each teacher of my time, each peon and guard nodded with recognition and tried to know what I have become now, for better.

“Gone are the days of constant leisure, gone are the days of immense pleasure,
Here we are now talking to the past, only to face the future so vast,
Moments of bugging and laughing and studying we cherished,
Would be treasured forever in our hearts to remain unblemished”

I was more than happy to see the latecomer ‘bhelwala’ in his usual place while I drove out the school premises, missing my friends to accompany me for the bhel treat.

Pheww…I guess the school fable would continue in the next post too being it really long, and the thirst to share my notorious school life isn’t quenched yet. Hopefully I would collect more pearls of memory and discuss with friends before the next post.

Disclaimer: I din’t mention any of my friends’ name to protect their identity as it’s too late to call them and ask for permission. It is midnight.