One day my friends and I were driving down from college and the conversation turned to what we liked best about our schools. One of my friends thought his school had the best science department, anotherfelt it was the cafeteria, etc. I couldn’t quite get myself to settle on one thing.
It was just when I rolled down the window and breathed in a bit of cold clean air, fresh and tangy, that I realized what I had liked best about my school: the atmosphere. ‘Open the window and let the atmosphere come in’, isn’t that what Ms Sharma used to tell us? I turned the car onto Aurobindo Marg and told my friends I’d show them what I liked most about my school.
It is quite different coming to school when you don’t have to. On school days you have a thousand things running through your little brain. Your grey cells desperately trying to grapple with homework, tests, friends, competitions. But later, you notice stuff you never thought existed.
The first thing, my friends agreed with me, is the sense of peace. It is amazing how quietness can overwhelm you. At the back gate I could almost hear the polite ‘Ram-Ram’ of that elderly fellow we used to call Ram-Ram bhaiya. And Matri store reminded me of times when we used to eat ice cream and cake with such devotion as if the fate of its manufacturers depended on our recess time! Then I saw tracks and sunlit path. Everyday when the recess bell rang, all the boys acted in unison as by some silent order. We broke into a sprint towards the tracks just to find a decent place to play cricket or throw ball or whatever. That day I told my friends that the atmosphere of this campus is so calm yet charged that it has molded us into what we are today.
Surprising as it may seem to current school-goers, I miss the morning assembly. I miss the Samadhi day, I miss the old canteen and standing in line for the chana bhaturas. I miss all my teachers. I think I became a God fearing kid the day Ms Suman Bedi read out ‘Krishna ki Chetavni’ by Ram Dhari Singh Dinkar. And I told Mr Bhalla that I would attain Nirvana the day I achieved the same perfection in dress and expression that he has. I still draw Benzene rings in the air as Ms Rajalakshmi would have us do. Not a day passes when I don’t thank Ms Chandni for pushing me onto the stage. Now, college seems like a compulsion in comparison.
As we move on in life, past memories begin to blur a little. If I were to talk to my school friends, I’m sure we would remember a thousand specific things to laugh about. But for now I’d just like to remember them as GOOD TIMES. A big GOOD TIMES blur.