School started for me with a nervous goodbye wave to my mother from my school bus and a somewhat awkward conversation with a girl occupying the seat next to mine. It continued for 12 long years in classrooms where I sat on wooden chairs and copied notes from the board, on dusty playgrounds where I chased people and they chased me and we returned home with blackened knees, in washrooms where I cried in the company of friends who always offered me their shoulders for support, and also in school canteens where food was shared (sometimes not), laughter resonated through the walls and where the best conversations took place. As I’m running down this long track, I can see the finishing line ahead; it’s barely visible, a thin white line which is still a long distance away but still visible. I stop in my tracks to pause and catch my breath, is this it? Once I cross the finishing line, I will only return to this track to revisit old memories, never to run across it again…
It amazes me to think that I entered school as a short, scraggly and nervous kid and soon enough I will be leaving my school gate as someone taller, wiser but still as scraggly as ever. As I’m a residential student, the sprawling campus of my school has become home; the very campus whose size scared me is now as familiar to me as the back of my hand, and it’s always hard to leave a home right? I take a sneak-peek to the track behind me and walk down the good old memory lane… The multiple early-morning wakeup calls, rushing to get ready and reach the canteen before breakfast got over, countless visits to washrooms to splash water on my face so that I wouldn’t doze off in yet another class, the nonsensical tunes my roommates and I would dance to like complete hooligans… There is simply too much to go back to and narrate! Not a day goes by without a glance at the school calendar, a cross over each day and the realization that school life is going to be over, the seemingly never-ending roller coaster is finally coming to an end!
Undoubtedly, I will enjoy stuffing my face with good food that my schoolmates and I were deprived of within the campus, I won’t be bound by the ‘useless’ rules and regulations that govern my life every waking minute and once I cross this finishing line I will be bidding farewell to the straight, rigid lines for a vast field ahead with endless possibilities. And yet I just want to lay down on the track and freeze time for a few moments, just so I can stretch this journey a tiny bit more, just so the finishing line won’t be visible to the naked eye anymore, Suddenly, the narrow and restrictive track has become a protective path whose value I hadn’t realised till now, maybe because it’s time to step out of the comfort zone and into a new world, filled with thorns, blocks and barriers that I will have to face, sometimes with the help of others and sometimes all by myself.
But school life has prepared us for this day, hasn’t it? It’s not me alone who has gone through this long and arduous journey, we have all been students at one point of our lives, remember those times of secretly bunking classes and finding a safe spot to evade getting caught? What about the assignments that we would delay till the second-last day of submission after which a dawn of realization would hit us hard and result in late nights and the consumption of countless coffee doses. How can we forget the sports competitions which united us all against the ‘enemies’ of our beloved school, the long days of cheering till our voices were hoarse and screaming with joy at our victory? This journey is and will always be a treasure trove of memories and learning experiences that have shaped us into what we are, and for all we know it will be those moments of scoldings from our principal which may come to our aid as we progress in life.
Till then it’s time to bring on that adrenaline rush one last time, look towards the horizon and cross that finishing line.