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.