I came here, unmoulded clay
Washed up on your shores
You took me in, soft hands
Moulded me into who I am…
As I helped my brother gel up his hair for the school farewell…I couldn’t help but remember that time, a few hundred days ago, when I was getting ready for my own. I wasn’t suffering from the ‘I- don’t- want-to-leave-school’ syndrome. In fact, all I cared about was wearing a Saree, meeting friends and having a nice time. Little did I realize that farewells change lives… that this single day of dressing up like a young ladies and gentlemen would mark an important transition in our life…
It was not just the end of our school days… it was the end of a way of living… one where expectations were low, rules were flexible and the laughs came easy.
From the moment I stepped inside the school gates everything was different… the teachers who would glare at us if we talked in class, would reprimand us for low attendance (which was almost every other day)…met us with warm welcoming hugs… compliments flowed (champagne was not allowed) and all around me, I had friends, smiling their familiar smiles. I’d known them for just two years and yet somehow, I belonged. I felt safe.
Conveniently ignoring the ticking of the clock, we made memories… lots and lots of happy memories. I distinctly remember the ruckus we made while taking our class photograph. The whole school probably thought we’d lost our minds. None of us cared. But when the time to part came, the merry-making stopped. The spring in our steps disappeared… the smiles began to fade. I knew, I’ll probably never meet them again…save a few… and almost definitely not attend the same lectures again. The feeling was heart breaking… like I was losing something valuable.
The word ‘farewell’ and ‘good bye’ tasted bitter on my tongue. At last… I didn’t want to leave school. We promised we’ll meet up later but everyone knew better. True friendships endure the barriers of time and distance. But to put them to test is the toughest part of it. Each friend you lose leaves a void, where only memories remain.
But somewhere down the line I did understand that farewells are not all about endings…they are about beginnings too… beginning a new life, with new dreams, new aspirations. To don the shoes of a young adult, you have to let go a kid’s shoes…and this is exactly what farewells do. They help you step into the bigger world with a confident stride. They help you prepare for the eventful journey your life is going to be. They are the sentries guarding the gates of your new life. All along, close to your heart, you have memories of that day you bid farewell to your loved ones.
After our last day at school, life became a roller coaster ride…a whirlwind of new people, new ideas, new expectations… we never got time to look back and think of all that was left behind…but I do think that all of us kept our old friends and memories safe in our strong rooms. Two years down the line, I realize that this is the way it is meant to be. We were neither the first batch of students nor the last to be given a farewell… what is important is holding on to the memories and the friends who were your life once…
Don't be dismayed by good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.
Dedicated to you… J
P.S. That picture you see... it symbolizes the end of one path, our life at school, but it also gives us a peek at the whole wide world waiting to embrace us...