Schooldays

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A poem I wrote for our school reunion, 25 years after we left...

 

Some of us kicked and screamed,

 

some of us clung and cried,

 

some of us marched boldly in....

 

certain our mothers waited outside.

 

Wide-eyed, curious and a little afraid

 

into nursery we made our way

 

not knowing that this school would rule

 

our lives from that very first day.

 

From the stern class-teacher's thumb

 

into the corridor we would pelt

 

burst into the sunshine

 

at the happy sound of the bell.

 

"Stop talking at once". "No running

 

in the corridor." "SILENCE! I said!"

 

"What is so funny, why are you laughing?"

 

"Stand up and stop hiding behind your desk!"

 

"The Highwayman came riding up to the old Inn door."

 

"Draw a circle and mark the center "WO"

 

"A triangle has three sides not four."

 

"What do you mean, you don't know?"

 

"What, you have  practice, again?

 

How will I ever finish the syllabus?

 

That throw is all wrong, you hold the ball like this

 

Pay attention, I will show this just once!"

 

 

 

 

Somehow the days chased each other

 

in sunshine and in rain: time flew,

 

through shared whispers and stifled giggles,

 

somewhere, our minds also grew.

 

Little girls we were no more

 

we learnt to stand up for our friends

 

we learnt self-worth; but most of all

 

we learnt to give. Of ourselves.

 

We learnt even teachers were human

 

they too had been school girls once

 

they were not green-eyed monsters

 

lurking in corridors, waiting to pounce...

 

Laughter and music filled our lives

 

Happy songs followed us about

 

And in class rooms and in groups

 

You could hear us sing and shout;

 

 

 

 All at once it was time;

 

those dreaded words: Madhyamiks!

 

all at once, we were cramming,

 

barely sleeping, ‘oh where is that book I seek?’

 

Late night phone calls, frantic notes

 

Did I revise that chapter, now?

 

Can you explain it simply, please?

 

Gosh, I can't remember anyhow!

 

A test of fire or so it seemed...

 

But that too, passed.

 

We returned to school, jubilant

 

"That was too easy, yaar!"

 

We gained new friends, we lost a few

 

time passed, events changed

 

and somewhere in the back of our minds

 

somehow we knew...

 

our days together were shortening

 

our schooldays as we knew it

 

with all its madness and laughter

 

were coming to a close

 

 

 

The last day of school

 

came amidst celebrations and noise

 

little had we imagined

 

the world outside...

 

So with heads full of dreams

 

and our bags packed with promises

 

we set out on our paths

 

outside these four walls.

 

Our hearts were full of love

 

our travels were long or short

 

but here we gather again

 

twenty-five years on.

 

As we walk in though those gates,

 

the same friendships shriek our names

 

the walls whisper a welcome

 

and the trees call out to play

 

and that familiar laughter

 

is echoed in our friends

 

and teachers who are here

 

to be with us again.

 

All of us acknowledge

 

our debt to Modern High School

 

which has been our home

 

and also given us wings to fly

 

....and in my mind's eye

 

I'm still a little girl

 

running in the sun filled garden

 

for that very first time.

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