Saturday, 6 June 2009

The Wonder Years

Old school ties can be very, very strong. Why shouldn't they be? Schools are the places where most of us began to discover ourselves and our places in the world. It's one place that aside from our families at home firmly established our values, our ideas of how life should be lived, and our concept of what a good education is.

Schools are also the place where we made the first good friends of our lives, where we indulged in masti and mischief, where we learned how much we are capable of achieving as well as our limitations. It was where we grew up. Since it occupies most of our lives before we become responsible, grown up people, it's also the place that made some very strong memories.

Nostalgia is surely a big factor in old school ties, specially when you bump into a classmate and you can't really recall his/her real name as opposed to his/her nickname he/she had all through school, there are shared memories. Nostalgia exists in various degrees. For people who haven't, or don't, keep in touch with batchmates beyond their social friends, nostalgia is what keeps the party going when they land up for an occasional reunion. To tell the truth, nostalgia often begins at school itself, in the final year. There's just one exam left and then it'll be over. Which, after years of togetherness, can be unnerving. So memory collection becomes really important. Upto class IX, our class was a divided lot but suddenly in class X, there was tremendous unity because you realize that it's going to be over. So it has to be maintained, for memory.

Old school ties continue to bind because of friends. Everyone acknowledges that the Internet has done much to make old school ties strong. I have no strong feelings for them either way, though I did get a good education and was very fond of some of my teachers. But if you ask me what was so wonderful about school, I'd say it was the friends I made there. One of my friends posted an photograph taken before the Diwali holidays in Class IX when there was a fancy dress competition and a party was organized to recreate that photograph and lot of my classmates turned up. Friendships are something most of us acknowledge after some thought. It is often difficult to separate the friendships from the school when the friendship happened because of the school.

I personally believe that certain friendships just cannot happen elsewhere but school. The school had certain values and ideas about life, people who went there share those values and ideas of life. The moment someone tells me that he/she is from my school, there are ten questions I don't need to ask. The batch and institution is also important. The batch is important since we grow up together, which in itself is a big bond. The institution is important since it provides the values you live by--and that's again a big bond that's established.

Shared values. They can often be so strong that age and generation have no meaning. Older people generally tend to have an automatic affection for--or at least a sense of responsibility towards--younger people from their old schools. It's because of the old school ties that continue to bind us wherever we go since they are so strong.



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