School: a place we spend 10 years of our lives. I visited my school today and was amazed at how evolved the school had become. I left school in 1996 and a lot has changed since then. There are cameras now and gate passes; there are ID cards with photos of student and even parents. How simple life was 18 years back. Teachers watched us with watchful eyes during class, never interrupted play during recess. School buses were our mode of travel and ID cards with safety pins were the norm. Now the ID cards are around your neck, and I completely blame the BPO industry for this change. I was never bullied and never bullied anyone (if I did, I am unaware and therefore I apologize); the same cannot be said for the current generation today.
The windows were still huge. And they have awnings now to trickle the rain water to the tiled ground floor below. The throw ball net is replaced with an open space and the dirt ground replaced with tiles. How I remember running through our ground from one end to the other, playing games in our one hour recess. When we hit the teenage years we started sitting on the steps and gossiping like an all-girls school student would. We shared our lunches, often exchanging them and savoring the different cuisines. Even in the food we had favorites and we would quickly exchange anything if we found the other person’s food superior. Lunch time was always one big pot luck party.
I hated schools during the rains. The windows were big and therefore classes were always airy.. But during the rains we had to shut them and watch the rain hit on the glass panes and hear it making a loud sound, teasing us to come out and play in the rain instead of listening to the math lectures.
Our canteen was run by an old Christian uncle, and we used to call him just that: “Uncle”. He was the sweetest character that we had the pleasure of being served by. He had a helper named Breezy (name recalled due to a chat with a school friend) was as helpful and as quick as her name. As soon as the recess bell used to ring, I would be hungry. The canteen was a small room so used to get filled with hungry girls trying to get chips. I used to run along with the orders from my friends to reserve certain items before they were taken off the list. Simba Chips and samosa were the common food items sold and Uncle did it so effortlessly that no one left the counter unsatisfied. I hope wherever Uncle is, he is still smiling as I will never forget his bearded face and his smile. We always thank our teachers but never our support staff who have also been kind to us and comforted us when we got injured, who treated us like their own and showed us dignity in labor at an early age.
Computers were a fairly new subject and mostly everyone was curious. The room used to be air conditioned and it provided much relief in our tropical climate.
As I watched from the ground floor, today I noticed how the building I had spent 10 years of my life had molded me. Right from kindergarten where I held on to my sister on the first day in school, to crying when she passed out of school, as I didn’t have my big sister to watch my back anymore. I was having flashbacks, of my teachers, the support staff and the principal; it made me nostalgic and honestly made me a feel a tad old. But looking at the grand structure, I realized that I owed a lot to this school. I made friends who I should have cherished. I had passed through these halls, watched the world go by from the window and had the pleasure of catching raindrops on my hand in between classes. The school didn’t let the dreamer in me sleep and didn’t let me give up.
I write for you today, thanks to the lessons learnt at school.
While I was sitting waiting for my work in the office to be completed, I saw a group of girls giggling and complaining on how stupid school rules were. How these rules were made only to harass them and there was no logic to the rules. Though one of them tried to make them see sense, they had a unanimous vote – they all hated school.. I wanted to reach out and tell them to cherish these rules and the walls of the school, because outside of that protective cocoon there was a life of politics, deceit, heartaches, and a lot of struggle.
I know most of us have a school life which was memorable and would love to live it again, with all the knowledge we gained over the years. I guess in our immaturity there was our innocence and in our recklessness, was a fearless person.
January 20, 2014