At “the best school of all”

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Jul - 17 - 2011
H. Alwis

A few years ago, School was more than a memory to me. I was there, savoring the last few days of my school life. Memories of fourteen years flooded my mind, as I held back the tears from my eyes. I could not afford to say good-bye to the place that had made me what I am, as the rhythm of my heart echoed “We will honor yet the school we knew…”, I had to leave with the promise to return as someone my ‘alma mater’ could be proud of. Soon, my mind was overflowing with memories and they all were “jolly days” indeed, all of them.

The first day in school is vague in my memory. Marring a few embarrassing incidents, I remember very little of my first few years in school. The junior school was a carefree and happy place, at least for me. Studies were never considered a burden there, just a way of killing time until the interval came by for all to play, and after that until it was time to go home. Generally, teachers were nice people who sometimes had a bad temper and that temper was avoided at all costs. Almost everybody came to school to play. It is only now that I am beginning to understand most of the lessons I learnt there.

We went through the middle school smoothly and ‘uneventfully’ by our standards. Studies suddenly came to be considered ‘important’ and a sense of competition crept in. Discipline was stressed more than anything else and sports dominated the priority list. We learned a lot, and for the first time, we were able to make sense out of what we learned. Teachers weren’t as distant and we grew a better relationship with them. There were secret discussions among us, about various ‘natural’ phenomena, and some who claimed to know the answers gave misleading interpretations.

The upper school was the most romantic of all. A lot of us were up to a lot of mischief and we got caught a lot of times and made a lot of people very angry. It opened our eyes to the realities of life, our minds to the richness of the world, our shoulders to responsibility and our hearts to love. It is a time we will remember well for years to come, not because it was the most recent, but because it was the best. Books came to life and for the first time studies topped the ‘charts’. Play was just for ‘recreation’. The arts, drama and the numerous clubs became a part of our lives. Laboratories were sacred places. Classrooms were temples in their own right, places that some atheists rarely visited but the faithful were duly blessed. We developed a more mature outlook to life and much time was spent in introspection. It was also a well of temptation that many fell into while others drew out of it, the water of adulthood and success. They quenched their thirst and filled their jars for the journey ahead. It opened a sky of freedom but those who took off without the compass of self-control, lost their way. Public exams came one after another and some of our friends parted to take their different paths in life.

The sun was setting in the west marking the end of a beautiful day called school life, only to rise again from a different horizon with new rays of hope. Those rays would shed a new light on places and people we had never seen before. The end of our happy days in school was drawing near, as our hearts grew heavy with sadness. There were no regrets, because we had gained all we could from her rich pastures and given back in return a fraction of it. We did not say good-bye but “God be with you till we meet again” as we set forth into the desert not in search of an oasis, but in search of the Promised Land.

 

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Published 6 years ago

Posted in Alumni, History, Letters, News

 
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