8 Things I Wished They Taught Me In School

1. Flirting 101 or How To Read a Guy’s Mind – This would definitely have been more useful to me in life than algebra. However when I told this to my friends they were dismissive. They told me “there is only one thing on a guy’s mind”.

2. How to Get On or Off a Crowded Local During Rush Hour – Life skills if there are ever any.

3. Making Brownies – Why you ask? Why not! Brownies are tasty.

4. Bargaining – Getting a good bargain, I firmly believe, requires talent. A LOT OF talent!!

5. Untangling Your Earphones – The number of times I wanted to listen to music, and found my earphones in such a hopeless tangle, that I stuff them back in my bag, and tell myself, “You didn’t really want to listen to music anyway. Plus it affects hearing, remember? ”

6. Matching Your Clothes And Accessories – I am hopeless at this! You see, colour co-ordination isn’t enough anymore. I wore a green necklace with my green kurti last week, and was informed by those who know that it was a statement piece and would look better with a white dress….

7. Break Dance Without Breaking Your Leg

8. How To Get More People To Read My Blog

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It’s Been Too Long

With the cool evening breeze, a waft of nostalgia drifted into my room today. Fond reminiscences of my high school friends came to me, and I had a sudden desire to pen down all the memories that were crowding my mind, insisting that they be heard. This semblance at poetry was the result.

It’s been to long since I had an ice-cream with you in the cloy summer heat,
It’s been too long since the long walks home down the empty street,
It’s been too long since I laughed so hard that the nearby trees shook –
And the birds took to flight, all a-clamour,
Indignant at having their siesta disturbed.

It’s been too long since the last plate of shared pani-puri,
The last time we argued about the merits of Harry Potter over Twilight –
Like we were discussing the fate of the world!

It’s been too long since we shared songs over our phone’s Bluetooth,
Since we talked in hushed whispers under the librarian’s nose,
Since we giggled over certain words and talked about others in an awe-struck whisper,
Been too long since we discussed our futures on the playground swing!

Back then, life seemed so simple,
The future just within our reach,
All we needed was to pass the exam, and the world would be ours.
Grand dreams, solemn promises to never lose touch,
Promises fade, only memories don’t….

Been too long since I laid out the tale of my heartbreaks to you,
And you with a sympathizing air told me:
All boys are fools. You are better off alone“.

Been too long since we bunked of class,
Since riotous games, crazy dares and long hours of playing charades,
Been too long since our group studies, where we did everything but study.
The marks are inconsequential now when balanced against the memories.

The last laugh, the last cry still echo in my mind.
It’s been too long since, dear friend, we relived those memories in time.

The Soundtrack of Life: Writing 101 Day 3

Writing 101 Day 3 Prompt: Today, celebrate three songs that are significant to you. For your twist, write for fifteen minutes without stopping — and build a writing habit.

I will be frank – this was a difficult prompt, and it took quite some mind and memory rummaging to come up with three songs that are associated with some significant memory in my mind. But here are the three songs that you can play if I ever get amnesia, and I think somewhere in the deep recesses of mind a memory will start blossoming.

  1. Les Chaps Elysees by Joe Dassin: Last summer I took an intensive French course. Our teacher had an unique way of getting us attuned to the French accent. She played songs, and gave us fill-in-the-blanks sheets of the lyrics. It was our listening exercise. But the day she played this song, after we all had finished the day’s exercise, she suddenly announced that she was going to teach us to line-dance! With great trepidation and excitement, the benches were pushed to the sides to be our silent spectators. That was probably one of the best days of the entire course. We danced and giggled to our heart’s content. Every now and then, someone would bump into their partner, and begin a domino chain of people bumping into each other, but nobody seemed to mind. We were too busy having fun to notice stubbed fingers!
  2. Katiya Karoon by Sapna Awasthi, Harshdeep Kaur from the Bollywood film ‘Rockstar’: I still remember the date – 14th November 2011. It was a friend’s birthday, and as a treat she was taking all her friends to watch the newly released blockbuster movie ‘Rockstar’ starring Ranbir Kapoor. All of us were still new acquaintances, having joined high school together, only six months ago. Like new leather shoes, we were still getting the feel of each other, a little afraid of getting shoe-bites. That movie screening was our test and we passed it with flying colours. We laughed and cried through the film together, and did not leave the theatre even after the end-credits had rolled, as we were too busy acting as film-critics. It was only after janitors arrived to clean the theatre for the next show that we realized we had to leave. Once outside nobody seemed to want to go home. So, still hung-over from the film, we started singing the lyrics of Katiya Karoon out loud, and dancing on the street. We were young, carefree, and surrounded by friends. Nothing seemed to exist except that moment. Even today when I remember my friends from high school (most of whom I have lost contact with)an image rises in my mind of a deserted street at twilight and a group of teenagers dancing down it.
  3. Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams: This song embodies in my mind all the sweet concepts of nostalgia, companionship, memories, childhood and friendship. My favourite lines in the song are:

When I look back now, the summer seemed to last forever

And if I had a choice, I would just wanna be there.

Those were the best days of my life!

I Hope We Meet Again Someday!

It is funny how I seem to spend every summer with a new set of close friends! The same set who might have become my rivals by the next summer, or worse, just drifted out of touch. If I am lucky one face or two might remain constant, but the dynamics of our relationship never have. Yet if you take a time machine and go back and ask any of us at any one of the summers (including the present one) we swear we will be friends forever. The very thought of the opposite is ridiculous. We share everything, we know everything about each other, how can we not remain friends till the end of time?! But things change, and friends drift apart. Kind of like two railway lines, running parallel to one another for a while, but sooner or later they will have to drift apart, and all that will remain are sweet memories on the warm summer breeze. This song is the most fitting ode I have heard to lost friends and to Time.

 

Talking about the Future on the School Bus

10320348_757120340986332_8630196627970622781_nHave you ever wondered why we only remember snippets of our memories? Like one precious moment in time we managed to catch just before it slipped away, and stored it in the treasure chest of our minds. It might be a little dusty with time, but the essence remains pure.

This is one such memory carefully preserved in my memory box – the details are a little dusty, but it is still cherished.

What do you want to be when you grow up? – the favourite question of every adult whom you met. Today we had just written a paragraph in class on what we wanted to be when we grew up, and the topic was still fresh in our minds. By we, I mean me and my two best friends – who for the sake of anonymity, I am calling S and M. 

“So” I asked, looking out of the school bus window, at the receding building, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” 

“You tell, first”, M demands, testing the waters, testing if it is a trick question.  We were only 4 years old. 

“I wanna be a doctor” I replied proudly. “Like my uncle. He stays in London”. I never knew which held more fascination for me – the profession or the distant land, synonymous with all the magical places I read about in books (maybe that is why when I finally visited the city, a few years ago I was vaguely a little disappointed). Whatever the case, that was the only career path I knew of and deemed fitting back then. 

Now, S followed, a little tentatively, “I wanna be a teacher”. We turn up our noses. Being a teacher is the worst thing you could want to be at that age. A teacher was a wooden ruler wielding monster back then, who mercilessly gave homework to students. “Not any teacher”, she is quick to defend. “A good one, like Rina Miss. I will help students. I will be kind and never shout at them”. This was, still understandable. Rina Miss was all of our favourite teacher. She was kind, and always took extra interest in the underdogs – those who were bullied in the playground, those who didn’t seem to have friends, those who had problems at home. She would call them and talk to them at length. Sometimes she would give us chocolates and small gifts like pencils or ball-point pens (a rare privilege allowed to kids). She would take interest in what books we read and what films we saw, and when another teacher scolded us, it was to she who wiped our tears. 

Now it was M’s turn. She proudly puffed up her chest – “I want to be a wife!” We broke into peals of laughter. Marriage only had two meanings for us – 

  1. A game to play with when we were playing with our dolls.
  2. An occasion where we had to go dressed up and would be served tasty food, and would have our cheeks pulled by a dozen people we never remembered meeting. 

Once we managed to resume seriousness, we gave some serious thought to the question. “You will have to leave your parents”, I said gravely. As a girl, that was the biggest obstacle to marriage, in my opinion.

“I won’t”, M said, confidently. “I will make my husband leave his house, and come to live with my parents. My mother said that long ago that is how it happened. Men left their houses after marriage to come, stay with their wives”. (I have thought of this strange piece of knowledge for long. I guess my friend had misunderstood, or maybe her mother was talking about matriarchal societies)

“That is such a nice tradition!” I said. “Why did they change it? Why did our mothers shift residence after marriage?” 

For a moment we ponder this incomprehensible question. This ridiculousness of our mothers. “My father has a nice house” S said, almost defensively. We all were quiet. We couldn’t really debate this topic, without debasing either one of our parents, so we left it.

“When we get married, we won’t be like our mothers” I decide. “We will bring our husbands to our home. I will never leave my family!” images (1)

More than fifteen years has passed since this conversation took place. None of us are married….yet. I am pursuing a journalism career. M is pursuing English majors, and S just cleared high school. Very little remains of that ignorance and confidence now. Back then, all insurmountable problems had a simple solution. Sometimes I wish I could view life as simplistically now too.

(This post is in response to today’s Daily Prompt: Futures Past)