7 school memories that sum up the nostalgia of a magical second home

Amruta By Amruta - November 03rd, 2018
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   There are few places on Earth with which we share a typical love-hate relationship. We hate it while being forced to be there every morning, only to return back home and be there once again, the next day. The discipline, routine, sincerity, ambiance and not to forget load of studies bothered us while we walked with a bag on back, day in and day out. No wonder our dear school turned into a second home since we ended up spending almost equal time as our own home sweet home. But all of this boredom magically transforms into nostalgia when we bid good-bye on the farewell day. No matter how much we hated it, we start developing feelings of love and affection after crossing the gate, never to return back again.

  We may be able to visit our school later in future, but it is not the same like carefree students with innocence on our faces and identity card badges on the neck. As soon as we depart from our school, every bit of hatred is converted into love. So much is the transformation that aspects we detested convert into laughter, emotions, tears and a longing to get back. The moment this school closes its doors for us, we realize that space was special indeed. And I am sure no other thing in the world can replace the joy of sitting on our school benches. We may continue returning to academia years and years after school, but it will never be the same again. It is only when we face the real world, do we realize that the load of homework was much better than the load of adulthood. Or better still, fear of answering our teachers was much manageable than answering our own uncertainties and challenges of so-called matured life.

  Now though you and I cannot return to this magical place as students once again, I was tempted to relive it through memories. After all, nostalgia works wonders when we can think about the beautiful memories etched in our minds. Normally, I do not advocate revisiting the past for it disturbs the action of present. But there are some things in life that deserve moments of our present. And if past is the source of your smiles right now, there is no harm in just experiencing it for a short while. Childhood and school are the best sources to get this joy at its best. It does not mean each one of us has had nothing but happy memories in school. We all do have our own share of bitter experiences or undesirable memories, while struggling to fit into the system. But the power of happy memories definitely weighs much more over the sad ones, making us forget the drama, while holding the pleasure.

 I am making an attempt to present some of the best memories through my lens. Some of these may resonate with the student in you, while few others may not. Do share your feedback and your own list too. Memories that remind you of the love-hate relationship with your second home. Memories that bring a smile, while longing you to return back, just once more. Memories that make you realize school was probably the safest, best and most loving shelter for the innocence in you. And memories that cannot be erased from your system, no matter how far you have reached from its location or how long it has been since you stepped out.

1.       Same bell-different effects

Building and curriculum may differ, facilities and teaching staff may differ, quality of education and methods of assessment may differ, but what unites almost all schools is the powerful and penetrating school bell. This same school bell sounds different at different moments due to its underlining message. Boredom of starting yet another long day of studies in the morning to an unexplained relief when the boring session ends, music of recess bell to the ultimate joy that announces “Go home, little birds. You are hereby released!” The school bell definitely rings a wonderful tune of nostalgia, deserving the first spot in memories.

2.       My’ space in an otherwise alien layout

Even if we stepped in and out of the same building, same classroom and encountered the same set of people in school, there was something unsettling till we settled into our own school bench, waved hi to our desk and finally entered into some kind of sacred ‘my space’. The memory of settling into that one school bench, while making an attempt to cooperate with classmates around was one of the best memories. Though that bench would change every now and then, thanks to the new found concept of moving from first row to the last every single day of the year, there was some novel joy of being into ‘my’ place, more like ruling the kingdom from a designated throne!

3.       After all, all world’s a stage

Though the great Shakespeare used this as a monologue for his play, I take the liberty to change the reference as per context. And when I use it in my school memories, I point to the fact that we all performed in school one way or the other. Whether that meant drawing a chart and brimming with pride when displayed in classroom or forced to sing/dance for the annual day function. It could mean just reading one page from textbook yet declaring victory as though featured in a movie or participating in the school race to luckily fall into the one of the first three places. Performances in school followed a typical pattern. From reluctance to participate to slipping away from classroom for so-called ‘practice’ sessions, from finally managing to perform to laughing at the blunders, the memories are filled with joy of ‘doing’ something.

4.       About picnics and trips, excursions and outings

School picnic- I am sure even the sound of this word is enough to bring back flood of memories. Days of planning, packing, excitement and shopping for one day picnic or months of the same for school trips sum up the joy of being out with friends and creating memories. It brought everyone closer to the realities of life. And looking at our fellow classmates and teachers away from the boring walls of school into the open world only made it sweeter, stronger and memorable.

5.       They made us, they still make us and will always continue doing so

If school stands for love-hate relationship, we are also guilty of similar feelings with teachers. We loved them for their affection and patience, hated them for being strict, rude and ever demanding. We also had our list of favorite teachers who always stayed good in our eyes even if they shouted and an equal list of strict teachers who seemed to scare us even if they spoke kind words of appreciation. All of this changes as soon as we step out of school when we miss each and every one of them.  We are able to find love in their shouting and purpose in their punishments. We are able to find their affection for treating us like little kids because no one does that anymore. Interaction with our teachers formed one of the best memories in our school, after all we owe our childhood to those lovely elders in this second home. I don’t think I can express any of this if I meet my teachers today, but I can never thank them enough for whatever they have done for me; just like it is impossible to weigh love of our very own parents at home.

6.       The power back-stage

We often end up appreciating actors and actresses for a good movie, but fail to recognize the talent back stage. It happens similarly in school too where we remember teachers and friends but forget the crew back-stage. Hence my school memories also involve the wonderful team of peons, clerks, administrative staff, cleaners, helpers, watchmen, bus drivers and many more. From a favorite peon uncle who listened to our demands and granted extra favors to a rude one who always managed to catch us in some blunders, from an administrative staff who put us off as silly kids, only to respect us soon as a teacher stepped in to the sweet cleaner lady who shouted yet helped us if need be. School memories bring their love to the forefront for they were a part of the drama too.

7.       And finally to the fellow mates who pulled us through

School friends- compete, study, love, fight, tease, hit, cry, pull pranks, laugh, smile, play, oppose, argue, blame, co-operate, team up, break up, shout, forgive, write sorry letters, wish, hope, congratulate, give gifts, promise to stay in touch. I am not convinced if I have included all the possible verbs to describe the interaction with school friends. They were the fellow mates who struggled with us, just like us to get through the school years. Making some of the best memories, it is impossible to find the same level of trust, love and connection with anyone else later on. It does not mean we cannot gain new friends, but there is some unique tag that separates them from the rest of the gang. Thank you to all who accompanied me in this journey, I couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to do it alone.

  I figured I must stop somewhere or this nostalgia will easily override the word limit. In fact it is impossible to put a limit to the wonderful school life, a place that took us in as clueless innocent minds to turn us into a slightly matured troop, yet equally clueless to face the real life ahead. We long to release ourselves from the weird clutches of strict school discipline, but miss it the moment they send us away. Also, these seven memories cannot do justice to the entire experience, these are more like mere drops in the ocean of a beautiful place where I wish to go back once more, if only not as an ex-student!

To the school that made me, thanks for tolerating this little girl in uniform with bag on back, water bottle on neck and dreams in her eyes