*Honk honk* the school bus would be there already, early in the morning, just minutes after we managed to open our eyes!
Getting into the uniform! Finding the ID card, looking for the pair of socks, tying the shoe lace! It was too much work. All this was too much to do at 7 in the morning!
Lifting the School bags with those tiny hands, we would run as fast as our tiny feet could take us, fake panting for breath!Having gotten into the bus, we would happily run over and sit whereever we wanted and would gape outside the window till the bus stopped at a senior’s stop ( the senior whose place we were sitting in!). The next few seconds would involve intense prayer sessions , hoping for the senior to be on leave.But no, they would walk right to wherever we were seated and pull our cheeks and grin at us ; and that was our cue to get up and go find another seat. (The same thing would happen everyday. The stubborn little brats that we were, wouldn’t stop trying our luck in getting to keep the throne!).
Having reached the school, while having to get down, there would be commotion! Between all the ‘He stamped my leg!’ ,’She is taking my lunch bag!’ , ‘He is cutting the line’, the little kids would all get down one by one, few normally, and a few abnormally, tumbling down the footboard and run to the classroom, each one wanting to be the first!
Then came the morning assembly!
“Finger on your lips! I want pindrop silence! Hands at the back and walk quietly , in a straight line” our teacher would tell us. The class that had been silent till that very minute , would start giggling uncontrollably, one after the other , after the instructions. Had we a reason to giggle, we would eventually stop after the joke died. But hey, who had a reason? The giggles would go on endlessly!
We probably looked like a line of ants marching, with squeals of amusement and giggles. One kid bends down to tie his shoelace (It wouldn’t even be untied in the first place!) and the rest of the kids behind would bump into each other; some genuinely and the rest just loved chaos! Some would even go to the extent of tumbling down and falling, on purpose! That was life!
” Stand at a one-arm distance” the PT masters would call out repeatedly , and blow their whistles as we gathered in the quadrangle for the daily Assembly! One-arm distance was too much to ask for, how then would we be able to whisper in our bestfriend’s ears? We would all wait till they walked to the next row, and resort to bumping into each other and laughing loudly for God-Knows-what! That was life!
‘Close your eyes for the morning prayer’, the speakers would blare. Every kid would close his/her eyes only to partially open an eye later, and see what their friends were up to and if they accidentally made the “one-eye” contact, there would be giggles followed by loudly singing the prayer songs with self-invented wordings and ‘hush-hush ‘ from the teachers!
Walking back to the class was a mini trip again , with the nonstop giggles followed by the mandatory ‘Goood morninnnnng maaaaaaam’ song after entering the classroom. The teacher’s ‘Good morning children’ would drown in the dragging of benches/ chairs , slurping down the water bottle and settling down in our places with every noise possible, made!
What the teacher said following that, nobody would remember for each one would be immersed in important tasks like sharpening the pencils. There would even be a race as to who sharpened the pencil and made it really small, first! We would go about sharpening the pencil on either ends to be quicker! ( poor parents, little did they know the reasons behind the ‘ I lost my new pencil’ story ,everyday!).
Then there would be absolute silence when the teacher said ‘ Whoever talks stands up and monitors the class!’, the only way how , the teachers managed to keep the class even remotely quiet! There would be pindrop silence and all sad faces all around. At the end of the class the ‘Thank you maaaaaaaaaaam’ song again, would put back life into the then tired little brats.
In the next class again, there would be something else to keep us occupied! Erasing the coloured sheets in the text book and keeping the coloured rubber dust in between the pages. At the end of the hour, the person with the maximum dust would win! ( again, parents remained clueless on how the pages in the textbook tore and how erasers vanished!).
In between , the teacher would randomly call out a name, make us stand and ask for the answer. We would simply stare at the ceiling, pretending to be thinking of the answer. The teacher would eventually get tired and ask us to sit the hell down! *Sigh of relief *
Then came the lunch break when there was commotion again and we gobbled up all that was packed, in a jiffy. Because, the sooner we ate, the longer we got to play. After lunch no matter how badly we wanted to pee, we just wouldn’t! Waste the precious recess in peeing? No can do!
There would be running and catching and loads of bumping into walls, swollen heads, scratched knees, but there still would be laughter and giggles!
All the hours after lunch were dreaded more than anything else. Even the “Goood aaafternooon maaaam” song wouldn’t help much. Tired and sleepy restless faces all around. After minutes of signalling and winking and whispering, one by one it would begin, ‘Excuse me Ma’am may I go to the washroom?’. We would walk half the way and hide behind some pillar and wait for our friende to come and then the party begun! Nonstop laughter for the next 10 minutes. There were times when we kept waiting but the friend never showed up. How we hated the teachers who said ‘ Go after she comes back!’. We would walk right back to the class with a sulky face and sit through the rest of the class like everything in life had gone for a toss.
The hour would pass and the class leader would say the next teacher is going to be 10 minutes late and the bunch would become all lively again. The responsible leader would write the names of the talkative students! Quarrels. ‘Did you see me talking? Show-off!Liar!’ One kid would scream and the leader would helplessly erase the name off the board.
Rockets. There would be paper rockets flying across the classroom! One of the kids would stand near the entrance of the classroom and play ‘guard’. With a ‘Shh’ from the guard kid everyone would jump into their places not bothering about the bruises on the way and when the teacher showed up, the class would be suspiciously quiet and no names on the board. Some student or the other, would have managed to erase all the names when the leader was not looking.
The teacher would smile and begin her class and for once the class would be quiet , being tired after all the running around.
When the class got boring and we knew we wouldn’t be able to talk, we would resort to playing games like tic-tac-toe with pieces of chalk saved for times like these!
There were times when certain seniors we knew would pass by our classroom and wave! We would bask in pride and beam!If we were lucky, they would even step into the class and give us chocolates and leave!. Bliss.
This was how everyday at school went by. Nothing to worry about but recess , and counting on teachers to be later than usual!
On the days when one of the students in the class had birthday , there would be so much of excitement. The entire bunch would keep giving the birthday kid them looks! The birthday kid’s bestfriend would feel so important, helping in counting chocolates , packing them into seperate boxes, going around the school with the kid, to distribute chocolates to all the teachers. How important they felt! As for the rest of the kids, they would be waiting to just get done with the birthday song and pounce and grab a handful of chocolates when the kid came to their place.Birthdays were something we looked forward to.
There were so many other things that we never looked forward to, but couldn’t stop from happening! Punishments. Punishments were fun if we were sent out with a company. Standing outside the class, making faces at the rest of the bunch was so much fun. But hey, for kids who had siblings in the same school; being sent out was a nightmare. When the siblings walked by our class and we were out standing, we would use our presence of mind and throw an eraser or a sharpener a little away from the classroom and pretend we came out only to pick it up! Such struggles, much pain!
The whole day would pass and at the end of the day, just a few minutes before the bell rang, we would all gather around that one kid who always made a note of everything! We would copy it all into our diaries and pack our bags and run back shouting, to where our buses were parked and hop in happily!
There was no hatred as such, no depression, no mean comments passed, no heartbreaks, nothing negative! Absolutely nothing negative. Gone are those beautiful days!