“Remember where you come from and where you are going and why you created the mess you got yourself into in the first place.” – Richard Barch
I was in school the first time I heard this quote. We , the then 11th grade, were desperately searching for a sentence that could lead the teams to the last clue. Why desperate? Well, it was way past midnight and this was for the first event scheduled for our Cultural fest, to be held at sunrise.
After almost a year since then, standing in front of the mic to give a farewell speech, this quote kept playing in my head; on repeat mode. I instead, chose to say another short one (you aren’t to keep the audience waiting right? Send them laughing is supposed to be the golden rule); but my mind was elsewhere. The flashback film had already begun.
I honestly can’t remember the first day of school. The excitement of enrolling into a new place and the pain of being separated from your parents as a first standard kid; I remember very little or none of it, maybe because I had been to this building, the so called school many a time before and many faces were already familiar to me.
Humans, they say, are molded by what we see and experience. And young minds, they say, store these impressions quickly. School, therefore, has played a crucial role in what we are, and has shaped our beliefs and thoughts. This isn’t surprising – after all we spend 7 hours a day at school. (By 11th grade you will be there from sunrise to sunset but I can’t remember complaining!)
Looking back, it feels like a different era altogether. From going to our first inter school cultural fest with chettans and chechis (chettan means brother and chechi, sister in Malayalam) to being regulars at every one of them, to radio shows, tournaments, sports days, Magnum Opus (Our cultural fest) , the responsibilities of being badge holders, to the very last day of school – each and every day at school was an experience to learn from and an anecdote to remember.
For someone who attended bare minimum classes, (there is always something happening in school that you can participate in, just be determined not to sit in class – Tips from Alumni #1) I never thought I would miss it when it’s over, but I realize sometimes the heart and the head does runaway to that place that was introduced to us as ‘second home’ and later became ‘home’.
Our school was right at the heart of the city, which meant space was always an issue. But that was never a restriction – we’ve played every possible game in it. Quick lunch break games, PE periods and in fact every other period (yes, bunk and go to the ground at the back if there is already a class having PE period or play basketball and run for your life when teachers stare! Tip #2) have all been memories to cherish for a lifetime.
Even after all the pranks, mischief and mess you create the teachers will still have your back. They were always way more than just teachers, they were mentors, family, companions and what not. Friends will always be there with you when you are getting punished. Seniors will tell you to enjoy it while it lasts. In short, over your time there, teachers become your fathers and mothers, your friends become an integral part of your life, and the non-teaching staff is there to take care of you at every point of time.
For us, school has been not just a place where we were taught our curriculum. It was a lot beyond that; NCERT textbooks were just a grain in the godown called school life. It was the place where we were taught not only to dream but to chase it. A place where “Follow your heart and passion” were not just words in air but something that was genuinely encouraged. Where patriotism was imbibed and working for the nation’s growth was encouraged, where every culture and festival was celebrated, a place where diversity was cheered and opinions were free to be expressed, a place where constructive criticism was exchanged, a place where respect for rules and authority was cultivated, a place that taught us that injustice should be questioned. A place where “Noble thoughts come to us from every side” was the mantra chanted everyday.
This school has not just been a place we spent our morning hours. It has been the place we made best friends and not-so-very-good friends, people who have influenced our lives infinitely and have made us strive for perfection. It is where we set and met role models; people we would die to be like yet have taught us that being oneself is what makes them so unique. It is where we were taught not to set definite goals, but to challenge our abilities and achieve the unthinkable.
A week ago when a super senior (atleast 8 years older) walked up and said hi, I was partly happy and shocked because I never expected the person to remember me. And what was even more shocking was that the person remembered much more details than I ever expected (like family and friends). That was the bond every individual associated with school had to one another.
Being in this school has definitely made us realise that it was never supposed to be about learning, it still isn’t. It has and always will be about experiences – priceless ones- that you shall get nowhere else and I can safely say that this school has taught us that “Experience is not what happens to you, it is what you do with what happens to you”.
Walking out of school was like hitting a brick wall. The only option was to leap over it. As much as they tell you to look ahead you simply cannot stop looking back. When it’s over, all you can do is remember it, feel nostalgic. No amount of words can describe it, it will always fall short.
All we can say is we shall forever be grateful to everyone who was part of this wonderful journey. A journey whose reflections will unknowingly creep into whatever we do, including this one.