Wednesday, September 05, 2007

What is taking so long?

It had been over a year, I was still trying to survive, to cope, and to fit in. Everything still seemed new and exciting and yet for some odd reason I longed for the 'old' life! I felt a certain kind of 'homesickness'.

What was wrong with me? Is this even normal? To look back? To miss those days in the white uniform and the blue pinafore. How could I yearn for the motherly chiding of Ms.A or the sisterly advice of Ms.Jo? Or was it all the friendly counseling of Ms.Ju and Ms.E?

Besides, what excuse did I have for never stopping by school? I pass by everyday! Did I live far away? Yes, if you can call a 7 minute walk as any kind of 'distance'!

I made up a list of excuses. "I had no time!", "College is tough.", "We follow a TIGHT schedule.", "Do you know how many tests we have each semester?" That should do it. But wait a minute what if they ask me questions? Why has your English deteriorated? (Have I spelt that big word right?) Looks like you've 'changed'! (meaning - "We don't like what we are seeing."). Are you acing your exams? (Panic) Whoa! That’s not cool.

Did I really want to go back and risk the possibility of being scrutinized?

Every single time I would muster up enough courage to go up to the gate, then suddenly I would develop cold feet and quickly walk away before someone recognized me. I did this again & again & again. Then one fine day, I took a deep breath, told my fears to rest in peace and gave my courage wings to take me flying across those 'pearly' blue gates of my SCHOOL. Hallelujah!

As I stepped in, everything started coming back to me. It looked like I was never away! The old school building, the wooden stairs, the classrooms, the fields, the beautiful trees- in my mind, I could even see the yellow and white 'carpets' of flowers around them! The powerpoint presentation of all the photos from my mind's album began to play - all the lessons (yes you read it right), the teachers (again your eyes aren’t playing any tricks!), the friends, the fun, the joys and the sorrows. It was not the buildings that made it special, but the people.

What was I thinking? There's nothing to be scared of. What is wrong in going back to one of the places that really means a lot to you? I don't care if people think its 'childish' to be going back 'THERE'. "Why do you even visit?", "Don’t you feel weird?", "How do you manage to talk to the teachers?", "What were you thinking?” - they ask me.

I'll tell you what I was thinking. No matter how many thousands of miles away I was, no matter how many different changes happened in my life, deep down in my heart I was still a ___onian and I always will be. After all, I spent 12 long years of my life there. The foundation for my dreams, my values and my life was laid there and going back reminded me of who I was, who I am and what I stand for. It always, always felt good to be back.

So if you are one of those people standing at the gate, like me, and wondering about the questions they might ask you, let me tell you the one question that they are sure to ask -"What took you so long?"…………………

Hurry home - they are waiting for you!

PS: Today is celebrated as Teacher's Day in India, in honor of one of our Presidents who was a teacher by profession. This post is dedicated to all the teachers that I have ever known. Each one is precious to me. If there is a teacher out there who is frustrated by your job or feels unappreciated, I want you to know that your life makes a huge impact on the lives that you touch. You may never know it, but believe me that it really does. Thanks to all teachers for your love and dedication and WISH YOU A HAPPY TEACHER'S DAY!!

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