(Nervous about senior school)
Be it as a day scholar or a boarder, we detest going to school, the first few days. When I was a kid, I remember being happier sprinting out of school than walking in. Ofcourse, with time and as you gain friends, you start getting used to school, if not really like it. You stop over reacting every day morning, atleast. Why only me, everyone would dread waiting for the rickshaw-wala to whistle and call out for Mother to push us out of home towards school. And the rickshaw-wala at that early hour of the morning would so happily reach out and take our school bag, as if he was dropping us to the railway station for a vacation to a hill station!
This takes me to a hill station, a boarding school, a golden prison. You don’t want to go there. Once there you don’t want to leave. What I believe is we used to fear going to day school. Fear of the unknown. We did not know and did not want to know what will school give us today and tomorrow?
At boarding, we could not fear the unknown. We were aware of the obvious. We knew our destiny. We were just nervous from which direction will it arrive? The spread of choices was known too. It could be in the dining hall, dormitory, classroom or play ground. It could be early morning, mid-day after lunch, late evening or late night. It could be a blessing right from Class VII to Class XII. We were never at loss of options.
Still residing in junior school, we had seen some but heard so many tales of terror that the mention of senior school made us sweat even in winters when temperature would get as close to zero degrees. From the cordoned off junior school campus, watching young boys “fagging” on tennis and basketball courts, some of them with red faces and watery eyes after being “dhunned” properly and a few running madly and perhaps blindly to save themselves the painful sessions of “get down and don’t get up till I tell you”. All this was tradition and part of the curriculum. Teachers knew, understood and encouraged such “educational ragging”. (I would vote for it a million times, if asked). Some of it which happened in the dormitory was a “stinky” story. Washing stinking socks, handkerchiefs, under-garments and over-garments, massaging stinking feet and making stinking beds every morning was a ritual. But do I regret it, not a bit. I passed on some stink myself. We knew what waited for us in senior school.
Ofcourse, then there were the “fukko” stories. There was one “Fukko”, one “Toady” and atleast one “Bhont” in each batch. All three characters had high reflexes. The entire batch would have fun on their account atleast once a day. The Fukko would, as a reflex, get over excited and say or do something to entertain the entire class at one go. The Bhont would, as a reflex, not say or not do something which was supposed to be and hence entertain the class/people around. Toady would, well as a reflex, act in the most unpredictable way and yet exhibit the most straight-faced expression as if he is does even exist in the event.
The phrase “a known devil is always better than an unknown one” had its own charm to us. Standing alone or in a group, holding the fence bars and peeping through them, we had a nervous boil in the stomach. It was not butterflies. It were dragon flies, perhaps, because all we could hear and see were fire spewed out from mouths, ears, nostrils et all.
Guess, Chulbul Pandey was an ex-OG. Itne ched kar chuka tha, ke har jagah se aag nikal rahi thi!!