Monday, August 15, 2011

Back to school

Oh, that bitter-sweet experience of "back to school"! It's all in the air now, kids running around in stores with colorful school-supplies packed in their new back-packs. Parents wondering how long it was since they did this last -- seems like...well last year. There must be a pretty good reason behind all this hoopla...

I still remember all stages of my back-to-school. The excitement doesn't change with generations I guess. I mean an aged person might say that, how would I know, haha

The almighty Kendriya Vidyalaya emblem
It's Elementary, Wason
I still remember my 1st day at school at grade school. The uniform and the books were a real deal for me...shiny black leather shoes, uniform ironed by Ma - navy-blue shorts, white shirt with a perfect-knot (elastic) necktie, and the hard-fabric school belt with a metal buckle sporting my school's emblem

And the little lunchbox with probably my favorite dish that Ma must have made fresh that morning, packed nicely in my new 4-pocket backpack with a new water-bottle that still had its price-tag on

Dad went to drop me at the school, probably dreaming that his young lad will one day grow up and bring good name to the family. But his son had different plans. I stood in front of my classroom while dad wanted to say goodbye and leave, and I thought "there's no way I am staying in school, almost halfway across the town from home, for an unspeakable 6-hours!"

My whole six-and-a-half-year old life flashed before my little eyes. I had never left my living-room alone for more than a few hours, and that was usually for extended nature's calls. When entrusted with babysitters, I had a tendency of either throwing a fit over going back to parents, or ending up being lost, depending on how I felt that day. I couldn't trust myself staying that far from home for this long!

"No papa...I can't do this", I screamed while throwing myself on the ground. I am sure I shook the enthusiasm of some of my fellow classmates right in front of my class-teacher, who took my dad to the side, and allowed him to let me take the day off. That's how yours truly escaped his very first day at school

The Middle School
I somehow survived the elementary, although my subsequent years in the grades went somewhat tolerably. The middle school was a different deal. I was fond of reading stories. So besides the summer stash of comic books and kids storybooks, the Hindi and English textbooks for the next year decorated my reading list all summer long. Of course, I skipped through the plays, poems and the boring biographies of dead people. My eyes were always on the adventurous, funny and the leisurely kind that always whetted my reading appetite

In those years, I always looked to the opening day, waiting for the teachers to get to those stories, which I had already enjoyed and impress my class with my fluent reading and quick answers to the "who said it" questions. All this however, never resonated with my grades at the end of the semesters...something to do with analyzing the stories, and memorizing...some stuff...I don't remember right now...

Another aspect of middle school was "girls". We seemed to get a lot of new students start of every school year, and at the then-sex-ratio of India, ten new girls would show up for every 12 boys. Which meant if there were 3 new students in the class that year, a little over one would be a girl, which sometimes was true literally, kilo-over-kilo! But on a good year, there was always a chance to impress a pretty hazel-eyed girl from Kashmir or an Army officer's daughter from Punjab, with my wits and good looks -- the looks were usually me looking good at her when she walked into the class

The Super Highs
Highschool...sigh! Four years of "crushes" that usually end up getting crushed between big books and career-counselling. But a crush is a crush

A highschool kid's reputation is next only to God, at least in his mind, that is. The school uniform is top-notch -- shiny black leather shoes, uniform ironed by Ma - navy-blue pants, white shirt with a perfect-knot necktie, and the hard-fabric school belt with a metal buckle sporting the school's emblem...I all comes around...

Our hero is usually missing an important textbook in his backpack, in anticipation of sharing the lecture with someone special in the class. Of course being a gentleman, he returns the favor with flower, chocolate or a thank you (for sitting in the next row, so we could steal glances during the class) card later

The customary fights with the "bad guys" (and that role changes depending who's our hero that day) are part of the curriculum. They usually start on subjects ranging from "what did you say about my girl?" to "what did you say about my mother?". A nosebleed is a must, mainly because it shows on the white shirt and makes the girls freak out. If you're not one of the two fighting and must stop one of them, never stop your buddy...that's considered betrayal

For some unexplained reason, these fights end up in the principal's office, usually followed by a day or two of suspension. But after proving the point, the winner earns the status of "the stud" and never gets messed-up with in the school year

So, the first day in a highschool year goes like this: a brief inventory-check on the girls, and re-label them as  F/S/N category (Fast, slow or non-moving stock). An "F" girl found to be going out with a kid in another school is considered "top priority" and dealt with with great care. The "S" or "N" girls that moved up a category with supplementary material including (but not limited to) contacts, braces, wax, nylon and silicone are treated with high respect for the year, and the guy successful in scoring them is awarded an honorary title of "the stud"

All "adventure" stories from the buddies are heard and measured on the scale of truth. The final word usually rests with the big guy in class, because he's probably the oldest. Speaking of oldest, don't you remember the guy from highschool who shaved daily? His ever-green cheeks would remind you of your dad and his buttoned-up shirt would sometimes give away a peek at his stash of chest-hair. The female aisle wasn't deprived of such examples either. There was always a spot for a "lady" in the house, who could easily pass for your Biology teacher (the reference to the subject, of course is for occasions where you'd match the side-view diagrams in the textbook to your "ripe" colleague who should have graduated with your older sister)

Of course all this seems too meaningless while you're still in school, as you just want to trade this childish life for the ever-promising "College Career and Beyond"

But yet now...won't we all give a world to get even a single day back to school?


yrs truly said...

Wonderful journey back to school brother!
Well written.

saurav wason said...

ahahahaha.....i mean..thnx for sharing bhai....especially the early yrs of urs....i only remember u being the ideal for me,I guess dat was side A....dis is side u talking...i speak d same language...u can even borrow a few words from know...dats wat brothers r dere for..!!


Cory Byrd said...

Golden explanations taking me back to the dramatic microcosm of high school. Thanks for sharing these recollections, Rohit. Reminded me of my own hallowed halls. Girls, nosy teachers, arriving late, drug-sniffing dogs and the loudest laughter I can remember. Kudos.

Archana Bahuguna said...

Tumne bhi likhna chhodh diya hai :-) .. just a break eh?