Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Last Day

I remember coming back home late in the evening and handing over the full sleeve shirt to my mother. 'Keep it somewhere and never wash it', I had told her. I wonder if the shirt is still there. I wonder if something (anything) of the names and 'will miss u' and 'all the best in life' messages that were scribbled all over it in sketch pens still remains. I wonder where all those names are right now. Yes, I still know almost everything that's happening in the lives of about 3 or 4 of them but about the rest, I don't think I care that much. It was the last day of school. Sometime in the December of 1999. And the students of St. Xavier's School (SXS) Bokaro sure knew how to create memories.

The build up that had started almost a year ago had reached its finale. And at the center of it was the signing of shirts and dupattas. The music played on and we danced as if nobody was watching. People who had hardly spoken in 12 years were behaving as if they were the closest of friends. The shiest of boys were having a laugh with the most popular girls. Some of the teachers stood back and smiled as the Y2K batch (as we liked to call ourselves) readied itself for a last party.

At SXS, we were a privileged lot. We won all the quizzes and the debates. We had the largest and the most beautiful school in town. We had the best teachers. The entire town looked forward to our Annual Fete on 14th Nov. We were the only school which had the parties and farewells. We created the best gossips. And we produced the best results when it came to academics. And how can I forget; we were the only ICSE school in the city. So when it was time to leave all of it and start afresh, it was obvious that the longing, the loving would be difficult to forget. I don't think I have ever been so carefree as I was then. Slam books were signed, promises were made to keep in touch for ever, phone numbers were exchanged and past sins were forgiven. A few girls started crying but there was no denying the general sense of bonhomie which swept us in those last days of school. Looking back, it sure seems foolish. I guess we were just conforming to the saying - Ignorance is bliss. But at the same time, it was the most natural thing to do.

As the evening went by, a few left for home. Most of us, though, headed to Vora Brother's. Had soya chilli and Pepsi there, giggling all the while. Walked in a line blocking the street. On the rare occasion, also talked about the pre-board exams starting early January. Most of us would still be meeting pretty much everyday for tuitions. But all of us knew that it would never quite be the same again.

That was eight years ago. Long time. A lot has happened since. A lot has changed. I have changed. But today, out of nowhere, that day came to my mind. That particular moment, to be precise. People walking with their bicycles in front of Vora Brother's; the night about to fall.

Writing is as close as we get to keeping a hold on the thousand and one things – childhood, certainties, cities, doubts, dreams, instants, phrases, parents, loves – that go on slipping, like sand, through our fingers -- Rushdie
Couldn't agree more.


anonymous coward said...

Reading this post today, its too big a co-incidence to be true! I too have this shirt of mine hidden somewhere. there were some photos as well. at each such occasion of life, you can reflect a few years hence and think what the fuss was about. kya humare convo ka bhi ek din number aayega ? :(

Sandeep Kumar said...

I still have my shirt. The writings with markers have almost faded but the one with Reynolds and Rotomac are still there.
And yes none of us can forget the last few days and I dont consider them foolish. That was the 2nd instance when we lost friends.
Now with passing more stages in life, may be friendship gets a different defination and we understand whats inevitable in a better way.