Old School

Our last week in Holy Angels’, before school closed for pre-boards leave, was coming to an end. We stood in a circle at the landing on the top floor with the coconut-tree-expanse view, and the Mar Ivanios clock tower marking the horizon. Or was it the MG College clock tower? It was basically a clock tower. It was one of those rare times when all seven of us (Math + Bio, Math + Computer Science and Math + Malayalam) were having a free hour together. We were happily tired after playing multiple rounds of Who Kicks Soumya First. We were also done with paying daily tributes to Chakka Chettan, a shrivelled jackfruit that had sprouted kind of towards the base of a Chakka tree on our sports ground and showed no signs of completely dying or ripening either (much to my relief). Once Shreya challenged Chakka Chettan to a dance off and did a triple jumping pirouette in front of It. Her uniform was caught in Chakka Chettan’s prickly skin and tore. After that we never messed with Chakka Chettan, paid daily tributes to It, spoke about It in hushed tones and refrained from doing experimental ballet in front of It.

As we stood in the circle we got the feeling that this was not ritual-y enough. We were about to take a solemn oath that ten years from then, no matter where we were, we would meet in front of Vyshakh bakery at Nanthancode junction. But we needed something more symbolic to bind our oath. After some fishing about we found a stray red brick. We kept it in the centre of the circle, pretended to throw up on it and swore. I really don’t know why we did that. I think we were simultaneously trying to commemorate the Kodaikanal to Trivandrum leg of the class excursion one year ago. We had painted the Madurai town green. A very sickly green.

As we were taking the oath, KP called dibs on picking the date and she picked the date on which some guy from Westlife had his birthday. Then again, I was hardly one to judge her for that. I had stopped eating mutton when I was ten because Stephen Gately of Boyzone reminded me of a goat. One simply does not eat the spirit animal of a member of your favourite boy band even if he is not your favourite in particular. I had the hots for Ronan Keating.

And just like that school was over. We felt as if it was going to be the end of an era. Most of us knew each other since we were five or six. We’ve seen each other at our worst.

‘But Ku, where do the balls go?’

‘The balls don’t go anywhere you moron!!!’

‘Oh.’

And worse.

‘Teacher, if whales are mammals won’t the milk get mixed with sea water when baby whale is drinking it?’

‘Um…’

But then it turned out it was not the end of an era. Six of us ended up doing Engineering under the same university in Trivandrum with four of us joining the same IT company in Trivandrum. We did move on eventually.

A few days back Pyaru pointed out that ten years have passed and it is almost time for the reunion. I really thought ten years would feel longer. Watching Boyhood felt longer. Damn you Whatsapp for letting us keep in touch with multimedia support and taking away the beauty of a ten year reunion!

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