Sunday, July 31, 2011

Schooling for Life

For all my partners in crime

I got a text message today from one of my best friends from school/college telling me that she had just watched Zindagi Na Milege Dobara (ZNMD) and was remembering how she, I and another friend watched Dil Chahta Hai (DCH) together so many years ago.

Not being a Bollywood fan, I truly feel that Dil Chahta Hai (and now apparently ZNMD, though I have not seen it yet) was an amazing movie that so many people related to simply because it brought back so many memories of friends and the joyousness of youth. In fact my first argument with my then-fiance-now-hubby was that DCH was a 'Boys movie!' (him) and 'NO! Friends movie!' (me).

Now, at the ripe old age of 31, I look back and think of all those people who told me when I was in school and college that 'these are the best days of your life'. It sure didn't feel like it then with the torture of teachers, homework, tests, exams, O levels, A levels, quizzes, assignments, GPAs, professors who thought you were 'shallow' and 'feeble-minded', intelligent chappas (DC na baith jayay yaar) and what not.

Now, through the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia, those really were some of the best days of my life. The sort of days which you hope will remain with you till the end. Bear with me here, but they really were the days when looking back now, you can smile and even laugh aloud at the antics that you got up to.

Some of the things I remember off-hand from my O level days:
- A middle school science teacher's jeweled bra (She was also the first person ever to kick me out of class for something that wasn't my fault. Really...)
- Locking the Physics teacher in the science lab (Why would you put bolts on the outside of a classroom door? That's just asking for trouble.)
- Locking juniors on the school rooftop (Again, seriously, the bolts? Who decided on the placement of those?)
- Pretending to have misunderstood that C-II meant Class 10 and not Class 2, and waiting for the Physics teacher to show up in the grade 2 classroom where 15 year old girls were sitting on tiny pink chairs)
- Udhar at Yunus' canteen
- Riding the bicycles of the school gardeners around the school playground
- Seeing a Math teacher stand arms widespread, sweat patches on the shirt, in front of an AC in the middle of summer while the class tried to hold their breath
- Switching off the electricity supply of the school from the main electricity switchboard (again in the middle of summer)
- Getting kicked out of History class for reading a 'Seventeen' magazine under the desk
- Switching the canteen boards for where particular classes were supposed to line up before break so that chaos ensued
- Drooling over Take That
- Being informed by the Chemistry teacher that we were a 'nailakon ki toli'
- Stink bombs + fake vomit in English class (Backfired as the teacher went and stood outside while the rest of us had to sit inside and bear the stench. Resulted in one student actually throwing up.)
- Saturday lunch at Zouk
- Spray painting the school cat

....A level days:
- Making up a concoction of various items including expired food products for a Math teacher's milkshake (he survived so no harm done)
- Stealing eggs from the food and nutrition lab and egging the principal's car
- Bunking Saturday morning Math classes and going on self-organized field trips with the majority of the class (some nerds obviously refused), which included trips to the zoo, Racecourse park, nihari at a really shady spot which had a stage with mirrors all around it in the basement
- Stealing a girl's shalwar which had got wet when she slipped in a puddle and asked another friend to dry it for her while she waited in the loo (said friend obviously lost possession of item of clothing when pounced upon by a group of bullies)
- Roaming all over the city in a friend's 'dabba'
- 1 Mehran. 10 girls. Nuff said.
- Udhar at Yunus' canteen
- mIRC and the torture of having a dial-up PTCL connection
- Princess Di's car crash

......Uni days:
- Discovering uni friends from mIRC (Usually from sitting in the computer lab, chatting and then saying aloud 'Who's this XYZ person?' and someone around would say 'Err...that's me'. Many a friendship sprung up thanks to mIRC)
- Forcing a group of friends to go for a walk outside campus to the nearest 'super store' to buy items not sold on campus
- Playing cricket with little boys in park near super store
- Borrowing spoons from the university cafeteria to play Spoons
- Playing hide and seek around campus
- Chasing a friend with a box of kebabs around campus as smell of kebabs made her retch
- Bunking countless classes (yes you can graduate even of you attend only 4 out of 20 Discrete Math classes)
- Dreading the day GPA slips were put into lockers (one particular quarter it was '2.9...2.9.....2.9....2.9)
- Roaming around in a car with friends during the summer holidays sulking and unable to decide what to do and where to go
- Queuing up for McDonald's on the first day it opened in Lahore
- Watching DCH
- Q:"Khana khaya hai?" A: "Pata nahi..."
- Hearing the news of the Twin Towers plane crash while at the campus store.

I did my O levels in 1996, my A levels in 1998 and graduated from university in 2002. A lot has happened over the years. My friends are either married, unmarried or divorced, with children and without, with careers and without, living all over the world. Some I have met off and on over the years and some I have not. And yet, when we do meet or talk, it's a surefire way of being transported back in time to a former 14, 18 or 22 year old self.

While most of us manage to fool everyone with the disguise of being responsible adults, deep down many of us still can't believe we are as old as we are and can no longer be as youthfully exuberant as we used to be (at least not when there are too many witnesses).


  1. i can relate to so many things here, stealing gardener's bike, running after or with friends lunch box, passing the mean smiles to other friends while bullying an innocent 1 grader. Life back then was just amazing and i so miss it :) thanks for making us recall and relate to for sometime, cheers!

  2. I miss u... Thank u for writing this  Now to the more important matter..."khaana khaaya?" 

  3. Could not be more well said!

    It is funny how we forget so many things, but memories of these kind are carved in our head! with the minutest detail, who was sitting where when the vomit was thrown, who pulled out the jar etc.;)

  4. Kya yaad kara dia yaar..and now I have to attendto the latest addition/edition to our familyso gotta run!

  5. lol! good memories except for the kebab bit!still have that bag! dont forget the horrible pizza we used to eat!