Smouldering Cinders of Memory
August 14th is a very important date for the class 12 students of Vasant Valley. Why? Because that is the day when we spend the night in our very own school, and prepare for Independence Day on the 15th. It is a tradition that has carried on for over fifteen years, and is easily one of the most memorable times in the year.
Because for the Batch of 2009, the night spend in school was officially cancelled. Cancelled. Naturally, we were upset, as we wanted the experience that had been savoured by all the batches above us. We did not want to miss out on our own night stay. So we went to the teachers. Again, and again, and again. And finally, they agreed to our pleas and demands. A deal was struck between us and them. Class XII would have their night spend on Friday, the 21st of November, on the same day as Class II. And we agreed. Half of us were so desperate that we would have taken any date. The other half had all but given up. But as they say, any port in a storm. The first of us came at six and spent some time with the class II children, keeping them entertained. But by eight, we had all arrived. We spent a good two hours just playing football and basketball under the floodlights, and went back to the senior school courtyard by ten for a roll call and dinner by a roaring bonfire in the centre of the courtyard. Post-dinner, we had the ‘1st Annual Class XII Night Spend Talent Show’. People sang, people danced, people acted, and a certain ‘someone’ got slapped. But the real party started only at midnight, when the music started to play and we danced for non-stop for over three hours to almost every song on every iPod. And we would have continued, too! But everyone has their limits, and the teachers had hit theirs. So we obliged, and after a ‘happy ending’, we sat down for another roll call. But you see, not everyone was up to the idea of spending the whole night awake. Many were more than willing to call it a night, and went off to sleep. But not all were sleepy yet. Some endeavoured and we all gathered around what was left of our bonfire, living memories and singing songs. What I won’t ever forget was how we struggled to keep the flames burning as the hours went by. Aye, we were amateur woodsmen, but what we lacked in experience and skill we made up with enthusiasm, using wood, roots, paper cups, plastic packets, our breath, and even a good round of prayers and curses to keep the fire alive (kudos, by the way, to Divyesh and Mariam for their fanning the flames). And as we kept track of the countdown to our 5:30 am yoga, a part of me hoped that the night would stay eternal. Partly, because no one was looking forward to early morning yoga. But mainly because that night just seemed... Wondrous? Magical? Amazing? I could keep on checking my thesaurus, but I doubt I will ever find a word that will do it justice.
But 5:30 had to come, and with Mrs. Krishnan and Mrs. Kumar leading, we were required to breathe deep, and stretch our weary bodies as we were pulled away from our trusted fire. But who said that vice is happy with a single hit on poor, old virtue? We then went on to take two rounds of our own big field. Paint the picture, if you will. It’s nearly six in the morning, mist and cold drift on the wings of dawn, and the senior-most batch is parading around the field in jackets and blankets with our esteemed Head of Senior School marching at the head. We trooped back to the courtyard, wet, cold and cranky. But we came to an astonishing surprise. Despite our having left it for half-an-hour, our little fire had refused to die out. It was pathetically weak, no more than smouldering cinders, but to us, it was a haven of hope. We clustered around like madmen, seeking what little heat we could get, as the teachers kindly sent for biscuits and hot chocolate. And then with the light of the sun, came the sleepy drivers and grumpy dads. And in twos and threes, we all left for home, seeking the comfort of a warm bed and a dozen hours of blissful, uninterrupted sleep. And as I walked towards the exit, I turned back to see those hearty cinders finally die out.
To me, this night stay was a unique experience. Why? We’ve been for many, many parties and have done wilder things than this. But this night was different. On this night, no one cared for what who was wearing. On this night, it didn’t matter whether we weren’t only with our best friends. On this night, we could do anything in front of each other with no inhibitions. On this night, we were a batch in every sense of the way. And that was what we were aiming for. Mission accomplished, guys.
Jahan Adil Nargolwala
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Those poor owls never stood a chance.
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Kartikeya Khanna: I lost.
Jahan Nargolwala: is Macbeth a man or a woman?
Jahan Nargolwala: I meant Lady Macbeth.
Your English teacher obviously failed you...
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Editor : Diva Gujral