A visit that reminded me of my school days

Before we entered the auditorium, in a hurried moment I sneaked into the classrooms.

By Purva Grover (Musings)

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Published: Thu 21 Sep 2017, 11:01 PM

Last updated: Fri 22 Sep 2017, 1:03 AM

It's said that school days are the best days of our lives.
When I think of my growing up years in Carmel Convent School, New Delhi, I think of a bunch of girls sharing a single, tiny piece of chalk to rub it on the canvas shoes. I get transported to the Chemistry classes where we struggled to stay awake as we were taught a lesson on carbon and its compounds. I taste the cold lunches; the ones we shared in between classes and during intervals. I feel butterflies in my stomach as I wait for the teacher to give out the answer sheets. I look back at the tough decisions we made - selecting our major subjects, deciding who to sit with in the class, voting for the class monitor, et al. I laugh at the rivalry between the groups - how it made us cry and fight.
I recollect the good, bad, and ugly moments that made up for the best days of our lives.
A fortnight ago, I found myself at a school in Dubai, and the memories of my school days came back rushing to me. With me were three friends, alumni of the school. We were there to watch a pop opera, The Lost, performed by students (13 to 16 years) under the guidance of Kevin Oliver. The trio was excited to watch the magic of their Kevin Sir, yet again. They spoke of how Sir hadn't changed over the years. It indeed felt like homecoming.
Before we entered the auditorium, in a hurried moment I sneaked into the classrooms. The pin boards were adorned with assignments. The smell of glue, the sight of coloured chart papers, and the rewards in the form of stars felt familiar. The sense of nervousness and excitement in the air made me feel like a student. After the show, as we tried to find our way to the backstage, two little girls walked us there - their gait suggesting ownership and pride.
The show was spectacular, deserving a standing ovation it received. It isn't easy to put up an original musical, one would agree, but the team had made it happen. Back stage, the children hugged each other and made a lot of noise. After the show, one of my friends shared an anecdote with Kevin - when he was a student and they'd recorded a piece together. They decided to catch up later, as 'friends' now. Outside, the parents waited to pick up their kids and take them home. I was reminded of the annual day performances in my school and how our eyes would look for our parents in the audience and how we'd wait for them to pick us up from the common room after the performance.
As we left, I sensed the making of the best days of their lives. Even though I was in a school that I didn't attend, it did feel like mine. Do I want to go back to school? Yes, it's always lovely to get a chance to rewind and rejoice. A lot may change for the batches to come, but what will not is the drama that makes us both hate and love school at the same time.
- purva@khaleejtimes.com

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