The internet is a wonderful place. It has the ability to transport you to a whole different time and place and make you lean back with a wistful smile and happy memories.
I was trawling Facebook while watching some tennis on TV when I came across a group for Mount St. Mary's. I studied there from prep to class 8 before moving to Delhi Public School, Vasant Kunj. Now the strange thing is that even though my most cherished memories are from DCE, my college; I just spent four years there while I had spent nearly nine years - the most formative years in MSM. Yet, surprisingly I hardly ever go back to memories from MSM. I am also sorry to say that I'm not in touch with anyone from school beyond the mandatory Facebook additions of long lost friends. But these contacts, as everyone knows, are very cursory and hardly ever go beyond a couple of chat sessions or a few 'likes' and comments.
But today when I saw that group a flood of memories descended on me. Especially when I came across another group - Lalaji ke Chholey Bhature! Now Lalaji used / still runs the canteen at MSM. You know the one, right opposite the Syndicate bank counter where I first learnt how to pay the school fees - my first brush with responsibility. And though a lot of my schoolmates frequented the canteen a lot, I was not amongst them. For me, the occasional (bordering on rare) samosa or chholey bhature was a treat beyond compare. As I saw that group, I actually leant back and almost savoured the taste.
I don't want to sound too wistful or sad, but so many lifelong friendships that could've been did not happen as I moved out at the time I did, just when true friendships are forged. Of course, even I didn't try to stay in touch nor responded to feelers from some kids I knew. Its really good to see photographs of people on Facebook that you knew as kids with their quirky quirks, their intrinsic innocence and the way they laughed and fought and screamed and cried. Its such an opportunity lost isn't it? Being friends right from innocent childhood to vulnerable adolescence to ambitious youth. It certainly would've been great.
But now I shall list down the memories that've flooded back. This list is just for me. So I can look back sometime later and lean back with a wistful smile again...
- Playing the memory card game in class 3. And the cake that Mrs. P Choudhary Ma'am baked for the class
- First crush on a teacher as an innocent kid in class 5! Mrs. Mehta Ma'am
- The joy on getting to use my sisters old ink pen when we were finally allowed to use pens in class 6 or was it 5
- Kapil Dev! His visit to the school for some Pepsi thing. Still have a lot of pictures in my head from that visit.
- Also Vinod Kambli
- Christmas celebrated with huge gusto in the HUGE auditorium. Santa (Mr. Brown, I think) distributing sweets and candies
- Getting caught and nearly getting a skinning by Mr. Brown again. Was with a kid called V. Raja.
- Coming second in class with the teacher being surprised!
- The marathon that I completed. Albeit very very late
- Dallas Bastion's enthusiasm for football. He used to carry sports shoes in his bag everyday in case he got a chance to play! No idea where he is now.
- Sleeping off / boarding the wrong bus when I was really small. (ok, probably a memory implanted through story telling)
- The time the school got flooded and it was declared a holiday!
- Visiting the Principal's bungalow- with the fish tank
- The time I had the best salad (with roses made of radish) in, surprisingly, crafts class
- The story our craft teacher (her name eludes me) told about the ticking watch
- The time I fudged my mum's signature on my report card. And then almost shat my pants before the PTM (Parent Teacher meeting)
- Annual day parade
- Not being able to sell the raffle tickets and trying to fill up my quota with my piggy bank money. (I was a very shy child)
- The 'love letter' written in blood that I edited for a classmate (I'm not kidding. One of the disadvantages of being the English teachers pet is that you get to these things too! He was writing to a girl in, surprise surprise, Loreto Convent across the road)
- Running two rounds in the morning for wearing unpolished shoes
- The tennis ball squash we used to play
- Being class monitor for the first time
- Addressing the morning assembly
- Getting a prize in front of the school
- The art classes, especially in primary school. The painting of children dancing in the rain that our teacher was working on. I can still see it as if it were just yesterday. Such brilliant use of purple and black.
- The morning Tae Kwon Do classes
- The Fido Dido wristband that I was soooo obsessed with. The one you got by collecting Pepsi bottle caps and some money. I stalked paanwalas in my neighborhood but somehow never managed to collect enough bottle caps
Whew, there are just too many memories. I'll keep adding as I think of them.
And now I'm hungry. If only someone could get me Lalaji's chholey bhature!