Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Country Roads, Take Me Home..

My previous post did raise a question - whether big cities are the place to be, or should it be the small towns where one would find happiness. Going one step further would be to ask if countryside is what shall provide the much needed stillness in life?

One of my schooling stints did take me to countryside, where I ended up spending a good part of my childhood. And glad am I not, to have spent those years in the campus. Every time I cross the highway leading to my school (which is a good 100 kms+ away from Delhi), I would give a nostalgic look in that direction, wondering who would be going through life altering changes in his life, in that school of mine, sitting where I used to sit, sleeping where I used to sleep, playing where I used to play; wondering who's that Abhinav for today!

Tryst with destiny, and I ended up driving in that direction for a friend's wedding two weeks back. And there was no way I was going to let go of this opportunity to revisit those times. Not that I could enter the school campus, since no one is allowed to enter without a valid ID. I remember that even during the times when I was a student there, if not for valid documentation to allow my entry, I wasn't allowed to. Defence services and their rules, I tell you!

So we reached my school and I ended up driving around the campus. I was looking for the forests through which we used to run every morning. I was looking for the river front where we used to culminate our morning jogs, to sprint back to our hostels which were more than 3 kilometres away, just to make sure we'll be amongst the first in line to take a shower and be ready for classes. I was looking for the horse stables in the forest where all the horses of our school were kept. I was looking for the canal where we used to sit on second Sundays of the month, throwing pebbles and stones in it, waiting desperately for our parents, who could visit us only on this particular day of the month. I was looking for the fields where we used to sneak through at nights, tasting the fruit and vegetable gardens.

But the times have changed! The forests have been replaced by habitation. Fields and vegetable gardens have been replaced with hutments. Lost my way finding the river, and the canal had lost its prestige. That's when it hit me - that it has been so long - more than a decade. Things have changed so much - but not people from the school. Still when I talk to friends from the school, the relationships are so intimate, so warm, that it feels we all still get up together early in the morning, ready to run up to the river again. Every time I wake up early, the early morning sky reminds me of the foggy riverside from those 90's mornings. Every time I am talking to these friends, the same childish persona comes out, that used to be the distinct quality of those determined kids in their early teens. 

After circling the area, we stopped at the main gate (inset), for a memorabilia photograph for keeps. Nostalgia grew on me, and I had to pass on the wheel to A for further driving, while I sunk deep into the memories, relishing the awesome times we had at the school.

Not many can understand how disciplined and sincere the life would be in such a school run by the defence services - what they show in movies is not even the tip of the iceberg. And when my friends ask me, I do tell them that it's hard! Hard as in, I may not have the guts to send my kids to that school. (And I'm so glad my parents had the vision and guts to do so - they knew it was what would make me what I am. That has made me who I am today!) Hard as in, as hard as it was to cycle from Kullu to Khardung La. (Just like I wouldn't do the cycling trip again.) But ask me if I'll ever want to rewrite my past and not go in those directions - and the answer would be, "are you kidding"?!

Life gives us chances, and it's up to us to grab them with both hands. Hands could slip, hands could bleed - doesn't mean the chance wasn't meant to be grabbed. Just like I was telling a friend last week, if given a chance, I wouldn't change a single thing in my life, not in a zillion years!


  1. This is nostalgia week, isn't it? :)
    Nice warm post...made me wistfully wish I was back in college.

  2. This is working-a-lot week as well. Been busy like crazy! :(