It‘s been 25 years of passing out of school. The deluge of fond memories and emotions that this sentence brings out cannot be fully expressed in words. It is like climbing on a cliff and pausing to look back what you have left behind… and you see clearly all the footholds of your life that helped you hang on, shaped you for the future journey and will always remain. This article is kind of a grateful thanks to my school, my teachers, my friends – they have made memories that bring a smile.
I was the new kid on the block when I joined the school in the VIIIth Standard. I joined in mid-session having shifted from Bangalore and entered class in the middle of Hindi period conducted by Kusum Mam. I can still feel my ears going red … not because of excitement but because of them being pulled!! But because of that I am able to seem very knowledgeable to my 10 year old when I make her study Hindi!!
I was shy and timid but Bhalla Sir, my first class teacher, gave me such a warm welcome. He mistook me for a brilliant girl because of my glasses and soon I wasn’t a misfit. Because of my hairstyle, he always used to say that I am from Honolulu and I am sure will still do when he sees me now!! Sir had asked our class Prefect, Divya Chaudhry to take care of me and after 30 long years, she still does. … she has been such a solid pillar. Looking back, I realise the value of her quite calm (sometimes not so calm) advise which has seen me through some of the tricky moments of life.
A special thanks to the charming, friendly and effervescent Late Mamta Nanda, who was he first girl to offer a hand of friendship. She also introduced to me to my soul mate …Neera Chandra, who was not in my section at that time. But we were together in the 9th Standard. God thought it fit to give us just one year before she died of an asthma attack. Those 12 months has given me a lifetime of friendship. She was a perfect friend. Her life and death have made me what I am today. She was an ideal child, a beautiful person, my playmate, my inspiration. I have not one sour memory about our friendship and… it was beautiful.
Roopa Nandini Madvesh – her memory doesn’t bring a smile… it brings guffaws… she is still a bright star who has led me up the cliff… and on the way tried to push me off it as well!! It started when she approached me to join taekwondo. Her inspiring talk on how even a skinny girl like me could do it, made me swell … till I came to know I was actually the magic number, which made the Principal Indu ma’am agree to restart the classes!! Those classes were a turning point. Doing taekwondo made me feel very confident somehow. It changed me … it was just what I needed after Neera’s passing away. My friendship with Roopa grew when she shifted near my house… lazy days of summer… carom board … laughs … making disfigured chapatis…. bugging her when she was revising maths…. and more laughs!! Not only did I gain a friend, but her whole family adopted me.
And then there was friend, Preeti Sharan, who ably conspired with Roopa to constantly tease me about me being a tomboy! I have memories of her singing, our maths tuitions together and the incident when the tutor found a cut out of an Aamir Khan picture, on the back of which was the photo of the King of Burma and he asked us why we had kept the King of Burma photo with us?!!!
From my teachers … I remember Geeta madam, my English teacher in 10th, who during one PTM, praised me before my parents after I had heard an earful from the Chemistry teacher, just so that my morale would be high. Such simple gestures, carry a long way in life.
Sunita madam, my economics teacher… who didn’t let me give up on economics. And that was a big life lesson……to keep trying till you succeed! Gulati ma’am, who gave me a taste of drama. I still remember my and Zeba Khair’s drunken act in creative drama.
The memories of my school life …. the beautiful assembly, the beautiful music, the recitations – words which were understood and appreciated much later in life, SUPW, shramdaan, everything is so vivid and live in me. There are unforgettable memories of the amazing trip to Pindari glacier, the ashram and its treasure trove of sabda. And who can forget the cake at Matri store! Everything was just so amazing.
I can go on writing as I feel there are so many names and memories not captured here in words, but are etched in my heart, forever and ever.
Thank you all!
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