Tuesday, December 19, 2006

10 Years Back!!!

19th, December 1996.

On 19th, December '96, the honeymoon days in the cradle of Saint Francis School came to an end. It marked the beginning of an age long journey, a journey in the outer world.

I still remember, I felt, I was on top of the world whenever it occurred to me that in few months I am going to appear for board exams. Now I realize where I was then.

It was during this period when I used to think what shall I be doing 10 years hence? I could hardly think anything; a doctor or an engineer or I do not know what? The immature mind glided in one direction; I would be earning lots n lots of money! Well, I was not wrong then! Sitting on the porch of my house now and looking back in the yesteryears I can proudly say "Ya, I have earned lots and lots of money!" Money in the form of experience. A childish thinking but a child-like realization! Wow! I have evolved and so do all of us. I can say with full conviction that in the first 12 years, life learned from books. In next 10 years life learned from life.

I am trying to recollect what happened on that day. In the morning at 6 am I went to Rupa Miss (then she was not married) for English tuition. After waiting for sometime Shweta and Raju also joined. In 15-20 minutes Rupa Miss came out and told that there was no class on that day and that she had informed it earlier. A communicaton gap...Well, I was little disappointed. For some reasons, I enjoyed going to the English tuition. :-) Anyways, we left the place. Shweta rode away on her bicycle immediately. Raju and I, were walking down the road slowly. He asked me, "Have you noticed Shweta was wearing a golden watch?" I replied spontaneously without giving a second thought, "What’s so special about it? Anyone can wear one". Little annoyed he replied, "You are a dumb fool. Today is her birthday." I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Oh!!!"

One thing I had observed about Raju was that, though he talked less with girls (atleast I thought so), yet his G.K. (Girls' Knowledge) was quite good, thanks to Naveli, Sonal, Urvashi & others, his perennial sources of information. At last but not least, his never quenching thirst for "current affairs"!!! ;-) Well as far as I was concerned either I was busy with my "past affairs" or "future affairs" but never with "current affairs"!!! :-)

Coming back, we went to our respective home. In the back of the mind I had the feeling that the next day i.e. Friday, would be the last day in the school. I was emotionally charged. I was trying to hide what was going on in my mind. In one or the other way all of us were preparing ourselves for the last day. But none of us knew, as far as I can recall, what was waiting at the end of that day.

As soon as the last period ended, the vice principal, Fr. Thomas (we called him dadhiyal) made the announcement that, "Some of the students have planned to burst crackers tomorrow. Therefore, the Principal has decided that today will be your last working day. No need to come to school tomorrow." DHUM, the bomb was dropped. All of us stood dumbstruck. None of us knew how to react or respond. The emotional fortification which I was building all through out the day to face the next day, came tumbling down like a pack of cards falling in a mild breeze. I could do nothing to protect it. I stood helpless like a warrior who had the sword but did not know who his enemies were. The only thought which came to my mind was "finished". Everything is finished. I could not believe what Fr. Thomas had just said.

Girls are more expressive than boys when it comes to emotional outburst. As expected most of them started crying. Even some of the boys too. Just to put a false show, I smiled & even laughed, as if nothing had happened. It was all set to happen. Yes, it was all set to happen, but so unexpectedly even my heart refused to accept it.

Some of my classmates, especially girls, looked at me as if their eyes were saying, "Stop being a nonsense!" The entire atmosphere was making me sick. I came out of the classroom on the verandah. But for some reason I could not move towards the main exit. Suddenly, I developed a feeling of belongingness for everything associated with the school; the school campus, the building, the classes, the teachers, the staffs & all my classmates. I came back to the classroom. This time little sober. Most of the girls were still crying and so was my heart. This I realized later when I came back home & in the years to come. I was hurt deep in the heart. It took me another 3 years to realize that the life has moved ahead. I must accept it. By the time, the damage was done. That is another story. It was decide that the next day we all will attend the morning assembly.

That day I reached home with a heavy heart. I told Ma what had happened. She knew how I were feeling then. She asked me to take some snacks. But I was full. I told her, "Not to disturb me. I am going to sleep." I went to bed. Inside the quilt, I was crying. This time yes, I was crying. Tears rolling down my eyes. I was too paralyzed to stop them. Infact, I did not want them to stop. That night, I skipped my dinner too.

The next day we all assembled for Morning Prayer in the school ground. The assembly was over. Everyone dispersed in their respective classrooms. But we stood there on the ground. That day, for the first time in 12 years (of our schooling) we did not have a classroom to go after the morning assembly. We came out of the school campus. This time to learn from life.

It was 10 years back!