Remember how they said, the school days would be the best days of your life? And when you got out of school, you heard, your college days will open you to realms you never even thought you would dwell into. When college got over, you hear about how life has many unexpected games that it will play with you, making you weak, making you strong, keeping you busy.
It’s been over 3 to 4 years since I left school. I spent 14 years of my life in that institution, and here I am now, in touch with maybe 6-7 of my friends, out of a batch of 140! It’s amazing how life changes, how you become so engrossed in your life, your world, that niche you carved for yourself, that you forget to go back to those times you spent in your school. Where you made your first set of friends, where you started building the identity you have today. I’m nervous, meeting my friends today after so many years. Everyone knew our entire group. We were, what you may call, the people you want to be associated with, to hang out with, to “party” with. Remember how exciting it used to be, going out to “party”? I’m meeting that group today. I don’t know how it’ll be. What if we’re not that spontaneous with each other anymore, what if they’ve changed, what if I’ve changed? These questions were zooming around in my mind as I pulled my car out of the driveway, not wanting to live up to my reputation of being late, again. We had this desk in school, where we had drawn caricatures symbolizing all of us. All of us still have a picture of that desk. It was our identity, it was what held us together, always. We were meeting today, at this old café in Hauz Khas Village, Delhi, where we used to hang out usually. I wonder if the old shopkeeper will remember us. It’s been a while since I went there.
I entered the café. I saw this group of 8 people, sans boyfriends and girlfriends. It was just us, again, like it used to be. They saw me, laughed, and I felt that familiar happiness filling me up completely as my smile widened at seeing those familiar faces, criticizing me yet again about being late. Some things never change you see, I’m happy they don’t. Sipping that familiar coffee, tingling my buds with that added extra ingredient, just like it used to earlier. I felt a certain calmness settling around me, as we chatted about those old days, the number of pranks we had pulled, all the times we bunked school, the times we got someone in trouble and then somehow managed to escape again. Sort of invincible, that’s what we liked to believe ourselves to be. It was hilarious as we kept talking, pulling each others legs and just caught up.
I realized, we will always remain the same. It’s a fact. Your school gives you friends, experiences, that your college or your later work life can never replace. They are the people you grow up with, the people who helped you in being who you are today, that part of your life, that part of you that makes you happy from very deep inside your heart.
These were the days when you met similar people, and grew up with them. You kept them close to your heart as you met them every single day for around 14 years sometimes. These people are the ones who know you inside out, who have seen you at your best, at your worst, at your highest and lowest points in life, they got you through all those times. You trust them, with everything you have, and you don’t let go no matter how many miles apart you are from each other.
I realized with a sudden catch in my throat, that I missed this. I missed that freedom, that simplicity, that life where I had these people around me all the time. Meeting like this, only when all of us are in town, makes it tough at times. If you think about it, haven’t there been times when you feel like no one gets you at all, and suddenly you remember those people from your school, who were there no matter what, they knew what to do. They knew when you wanted that comfort food, you don’t have to give a reason or justify anything. You know if you give them a call right now, they will be there, and you realize, you’re not alone, you never were alone, you always had them somewhere deep inside you. They never left.
Your friends from school, they will never leave. Granted that sometimes it takes time to get used to the fact that the people who were there since the beginning might not be able to give you as much time as they used to. But that doesn’t mean you’re not special to them. You are, you always will be. They’ll always try to be there still. I can guarantee that. They won’t give up on you.
Even if you make the closest of friends later in life, in college, work, anywhere; you know deep inside you that the family you have from your school is something that will always remain unique and special. I realized that, as I drove back, feeling happy that I have them in my life. They are my love, apart from my love; my family apart from my family. They are who I am today, and they will remain that part of me for life.