I had always prided myself as one of those sensible, emotionally invincible humans, who never cried on parting. Who never shed a tear on last good byes. But somehow, now, that I am inevitably about to finish the silver jubilee of my life, I am recollecting the good byes at every stage of my life. Right from when my best friend left school in the 8th standard, to the time I left my school, my first house, my hostel room and now, that I am leaving the only place outside home that I fell in love with.
I am writing this because leaving behind physically is easy, or maybe necessary, and so you have to do it. But to leave behind, let go of things, people, places, emotionally, and remove them from the mind and heart is really tough and unfortunately, necessary because until and unless you don’t let go of the past, the good and the bad, you aren’t fully receptive of the events of the future. Many a times, I have met people who stick to their past and compare everything, everyone, in their present life to what they had before, and hence, end up as a rope in a tug of war. I don’t want to end up like that. I had good times in patches. And now, I am somehow spending a lot of time recollecting, reminiscing and craving for those times again. So I’ll try forgetting by talking about them.
I’ll begin with the first ever serious memory of a farewell. My best friend in school, since probably the first standard, was shifting to another city. I was in the eight standard. We had just faced a massive earthquake. And things were in turmoil. As a kid, I had been one of those detestable mummy’s girl type. I was strictly honest, very hardworking and very non-smiley. My problem was that, and rather, is that I take life and people very seriously. Anyways, so I used to consider her a very good friend. We organized this party, where we called up her mom and told her of the plan, and all of us kids made something from our homes and took stuff to make sandwiches. We gave her a huge surprise. Parties those days were simple. We used to cook some nice stuff at home, play games, laugh a lot. We then went to her terrace and played “chocolate box” and “Red letter A”. Lovely games we used to play then. Can’t see many kids playing outside these days. We then gave her a simple parting gift. Somehow I still remember that evening many times. Some snippets of conversation that evening. One of them was about Fridays coming on 13ths being dangerous.
Another memory, or rather, series of memories that I can’t seem to delete from my sub-conscious are those of my school. The four staircases, one leading from L.K.G to 4th standard, dark, and long and steep. One in the new building from garage to 5th standard. One wide, grey huge and cool staircase from the 1st standard corridor to 8th B and the higher secondary staircase, from library to 10th A. Somehow my memories always start with the staircase. Maybe I used to climb them a lot, I used to rush up and down after each period, carrying books, obeying orders. They were a meeting place for debate, dance program discussions.
Then, I think of Sister Anita’s (Principal) office. How I used to stand outside waiting for my turn to come, and once in, how I used to stare at each artifact. I remember the paperweight in shape of an angel, the huge painting behind her chair, the various shields, the notice boards with cards made by children. Her smile. Her calm and composed way of solving a hundred issues at the same time.
The administration windows where we used to pay our fees. The tree outside the new office, that stood against all weathers, cyclone, drought, rains. The stage, with the blue and white figures doing garba and the statue of Mother Mary, on top of the stage outside the old staff room. The slogan ‘Servet Domino tes Latito” carved on top. I think of the two assemblies, with so many students standing in order to pray and begin the day. The last year when I had to stand on stage to bring the assembly In order before sister’s arrival. The thumping heart when results of the previous day’s competitions were to be announced. The news reading and Anthony sir’s casio music that brought life to the hymns. The school song, “hail to our happy school days”. The PT sessions where most girls used to feign illness. The march past practices, drill practices before sports day, republic day and installation. The laying down of the tracks and decorating the stage, climbing on stools, pinning up stuff. I remember the unending hours after school I spent practicing for Patriotic song, dramatics, folk dance. Khokho, dodge ball, basket ball. The rejections in the dance and dramatics selection, that first opened my eyes to my faults and shortcomings. The scoldings from school captains, for coming late, for not remembering dialogues, for not dancing with grace, for being slow on the field. The parlour, outside which when we practiced, we got told off by the nuns. The Christmas eve chocolate cake that we got when we went to wish the sisters. And how can I ever forget the hall. The place where so many events took place. The farewell, the prayer services, the competitions, extemporary, debate. The debate podium. How we used to literally fight on stage for a political topic that we had hardly read about in the past ten days.
I’ll remember the day I was elected head girl for a long long time. Till date it is my greatest victory. The intervals where we used to share tiffins and the occasional interval that got lengthenend because of a meeting, where we used to play tug of war, catching a partner, saat tadi. The punishments to stand outside the class for a workbook not brought or homework not done. The punishment with raised hands, for making noise. The library and the songs sister Graciella used to teach us. “Where is thumpkin”, then a song on peanuts. The bunking of periods and sitting in the store room or small lab for discussing program schedules, dances, dramas. Going out of school for a competition and coming back with a trophy, with the whole team shouting slogans. Standing outside the cycle stand and talking for hours, after school.
These memories will never leave. But they sometimes haunt me. Because I yearn for those carefree simple days. I guess very few people have the childhood I had. I was lucky to have had the chance to learn and experience a lot of things. Take responsibilities, make decisions. Meet people whom I could look up to.
Then ofcourse, I can never forget my times in medical campus. How our whole toli of bachaparty used to get together at Neha’s house and practice for dances. Her garden, the parties we used to have there. How me and Aditi used to cycle around campus, race. And then go to her place to play with the kittens. How we all used to gather every evening in C-Type and play statue or some other game, run around, talk. How we all used to set out on dhuleti and visit everyone’s homes and eat sweets and then go to officer’s club and dance and play again. Ekta, Khyati the senior most members, then Neha, Neha, Vinita, Bittu,Mona, Sona then Aditi, then Me. The youngest. The fattest, the slowest. How we were so free as kids. So safe. The dances that Rani auntie taught us, “Valau re nakhva” , “Au saiba poltori vaita” , the Hum Paanch drama. The performances we did in town hall at the annual functions of IMA and officer’s club. How Sandhya auntie and Shukla Uncle used to drop us all off at our houses with some of us sitting in the maruti with the dekki open. Sitara, Meenal, Neha, Kalyani, Samvedna, Sambhavna, Hirwa, Hetal, Me, Vini. It was fun. Playing on the tennis court. In the park. Gathering at officer’s club weekly for tambola. I seriously wonder sometimes why I was so lucky to have had these two places in my life. And whether I would ever have learnt and seen so much if not for it. There are so many people whom I haven’t met in these years but who had once been instrumental in shaping me. I wish I could go back once again and thank these people.
Then I had my btech hostel life. Which also was terrific. Birthdays, jumping the gate. Cribbing in the mess. Going out in search of cheap food on Sunday nights, watching movies, gathering in one room for studies and then Maggie and a cup of hot milk or coffee. Dancing to the radio on Saturdays. We were a simple lot. We didn’t need glamour or good food or rich places or DJ. We used to find our fun within the hostel. I’ll never forget the dance practices, with Shiveta, Nirali,Sona, Tanvi, Bansi, Viharika, Preksha, Niti, Shruti, Sukirti. The midnight newyear pajama parties, the friendship day parties. Fighting with the hostel rector. Filling buckets and climbing two storeys when no water. Studying outside in groups in the corridors during exams. Talking on the staircase for hours. Going off to vaniyavad and havmor after dinner. Things were so inexpensive. Going to shreyas occasionally in the chakada. The cultural nights and group days. I don’t think I miss my college much but I do miss my hostel a lot. We had some fights, some misunderstandings, but all in all, it was an age where a lot could have gone wrong, but didn’t because of the good people around.
And finally, DAIICT. My heaven. I don’t know how I am going to tackle leaving behind this place. I skipped Nirma and EI and my HSC because they don’t matter. There are no happy no sad memories I have of these places. But DAIICT is different.