November 20, 2015.
The date has been ringing in my head ever since April, at the start of the academic session.
It’s the last day of my school. It’s the last day I’ll consider it perfectly normal to wear a bag, a uniform, and waltz into the class among my friends and see the same faces, over and over again. 5 days a week. For 14 straight years.
It’s strange to think of this: For 14 years, I’ve been among two hundred odd individuals my age – in the same sphere of life. We’ve been together in a way-we’ve learnt, developed, grown, laughed, cried and lived amongst each other. 5 days a week. Six hours a day. For 14 years straight.
Never again will we ever be so free of responsibilities, never again will we have so many second chances, never again will we lead relatively simple, innocent lives.
School days. Running back through time in reverse order, the freshest and probably the most cherished memories talking to friends all day long, sometimes till very late at night, I’ll probably never be able to that again with them. It won’t be the same.
My private jokes with them, making an eye to eye contact whenever a reference to them was spotted in the class, and controlling our sniggers during those moments.
I’ll miss the Bollywood filmi dialogues with friends, and the cries of “Oh Ho!” delivered after delivering them.
I’ll miss using the words in vogue, only the people from our school could understand them. Some Alag words; Springdalians ki andhi chaudh.
I’ll miss bunking classes and assemblies-looking for new hidey-holes after being caught in the previous ones, from skipping class to play football in middle school, to hanging around the bookshop till class Ten, and now lazing around in the empty gymnasium, courts and washrooms. We’ve always been a step ahead of school law. I’ll always remember the dhai (second and half) boys washroom with a number of fond memories.
I’ll miss the profound discussions during bunks and free periods we guys did. Instead of the usual witless pastimes in class, the free time thus opened allowed us to communicate openly. We weren’t a single group as such, but these allowed us to drop the masks we would have on during class.
Philosophically speaking, these were amazing: seven-eight guys discussing studies, career, people, teachers, driving, peer-pressure, alcohol. Call it us bonding- we all had these same problems of different degrees.
I’ll miss coughing loudly when my friends made up excuses for being late to class. (Or vice versa).
I’ll miss going out with friends. Malls, movies, homes. Impromptu trips to the nearby roll shops, and then arguing which among them is better.
I’ll miss chuckling when my friend’s crush passes us by, or brusting out laughing at their stoic expression.
I’ll miss flirting. I’m terrible at detecting it, but pretty good when I catch on. (Attested 9/10 by a friend).
I’ll miss my friend who sat behind during examinations, sniggering in my ear because of some strange reason, and eventually making me do the same.
Or us going to our maths teachers for help in solving some “doubts”- we both had a crush on her. (Still do).
I’ll miss the Mantras (magical formulae to solve questions) of my accounts teacher, or poking some good-natured fun at his expense after (and during) his classes.
Heck, I’ll even miss the horrific days we got our maths examination results back and asking friends in a solemn voice if they passed, because you didn’t.
And now, when I’m still going through these precious memories, I realise, all the things I’ll miss, none would have been possible without my friends. None of them.
I’ll miss not my school as such, I have cribbed for 14 years about it being impractical, unfair, downright silly, and boring. And I haven’t even mentioned examinations in the previous sentence.
From being excited on day one, 14 years back – asking my mother whether we read from left to right or vice versa, to the day I settled in the routine of cursing the gods for the despondency of getting ready at 7 AM as a small child.
I still do the same, of course.
No, I won’t miss it.
Except the last few days. I feel funny. I get to see the same faces, friends, those who have been coming atleast, some of those with whom I won’t stay in connect. It feels very…strange. Empty.
It’s ethereal to behold this, how the lives of so many individuals have intersected and criss-crossed, often leaving a mark on them for the remaining journey of their lives. Our lives.
Friends. Friends who I talked to for days at a slog, sometimes. Friends whom I desperately called in need of help, friends who helped solve my problems, listened when it mattered and vice versa.
Trustworthy, honest, funny. Weird and crazy.
Friends with whom I discussed ideas about life, (psuedo)-intellectual thoughts, books, movies, sports, music, gossip. I’ll miss my mehfils with you. Those who I shared this with.
Those who made my 14 years worthwhile, punctuating the paragraph with small sentences, for the time we enjoyed with each other.
I’ll be there for you.
I live near my school. Everytime I’ll look at it while passing, I’ll do that often, I don’t know what I’ll have in my mind. Nostalgia. Sweet memories. A few sad ones, perhaps. Lost Innocence. Regrets. Loads and loads of ‘could’ve would’ve should’ve’s.
But college beckons. Life beckons. All this time has been spent setting the stage for new adventures, new people.
All I know is, I’ll be nurturing some melancholy in my emptying heart.
“Speed Of Sound” – Pearl Jam.
Yesterdays, how quick they change
All lost and long gone now
It’s hard to remember anything moving at the speed of sound
Moving with the speed of sound
And yet I’m still holding tight to this dream of distant light
in that somehow I’ll survive
But this night has been a long one
Waiting on a sun that just don’t come.
Can I forgive what I cannot forget
And live a lie?
I could give it one more try.
(It’s all so quiet now).