I have been thinking about loss, ever since I read the prompt – ” Write about a loss”. Many memories came to life of people, places, relationships and farewells. Somehow farewell stuck with me, last day of school, last day of class with Miss Paul had felt like an ultimatum that had invariably brought a huge lump in my throat. It still does! Last day of my son’s soccer tournament, baseball or Robotics still makes me feel – sentimental, along with a sense of loss. What more? It simply happens there are no trumpets, drumrolls or people singing a farewell song.
There was a time when I thought that life imitated movies; some drama and a song for every situation, especially farewell. The farewells were usually very poignant, especially in one of the movies, that I had recently seen, where the protagonist, a professor, walks triumphantly into the sunset with a song being played in the background, after being absolved of crime, he did not commit. While, his students, 100s of them stand there looking distraught, teary eyed and ashamed, especially the ones who plotted against him. Despite several pleadings he refuses to stay. The song being played in the background was very popular then, “Ruk Jaana Nahin”, Never give up when the going get tough, O traveler. https://youtu.be/heZC52CKtLQ
No wonder, as an eight year old, a fourth grader, I thought the entire class would feel very sad when I would leave my school forever. The girls who had not been nice to me, would feel remorseful, as I would triumphantly walk into a new school. My new school would be much better than this one, as it had a proper school building and a proper playground, not a makeshift building and a makeshift playground like this one. It would be the news of the day at this school, after all wasn’t I important? I had ranked first in the class thrice already. It would also be my final revenge against the “not so nice girls” in my class right?
I hadn’t been able to boast too much about my new school to my friends, my mother had forbidden that, “it was our secret,” she had said. Nevertheless it hadn’t stopped me from hinting about it. One day Duraiya was being especially caustic towards me and I had very haughtily said, ” I may go to another school and then I shall never see you again.” She had softened immediately and asked, “When?” I may have used it a couple other times to either feel important or to make sure the girls were not being mean towards me, especially the gossipy twins Nahata and Nisha, and it always had the desired effect.
Then one afternoon, when the whole class was quietly working on Math Problems. The teacher Miss Zara, called out my name and asked me to close my book, pack my bag and come up to her desk. There was pin drop silence in the classroom, I felt awkward, as I bent my head and walked up to her. She told me, that my mom had come to take me home and that it was my last day at school. She turned to the class and said, ” Today is Ishinder’s last day at school, bid her good bye.” I heard a couple of girls and boys saying bye, but I couldn’t even look up or say anything, there was a huge lump in my throat and my eyes were getting teary. I walked away clutching my school bag, as if my life depended on it. Then I wanted to wave at my friends through the window but couldn’t. I hadn’t said good bye to any of my friends either, not even Mamta – my best friend. She wasn’t present in the class that day.
Suddenly, it struck me, that I would never see my friends again, I would never come back to this school again.
No more listening to Shahana’s narration of the latest movies ( that I never got to see) in the bus, No more sitting under the Gulmohar tree and collecting the flaming red flowers,
No more sitting in a circle and sharing lunch with each other, especially Padma’s curd rice,
No more sharing secrets or drawing pictures with Mamta,
No more playing hopscotch with my friends during recess,
No more listening to Vikram’s songs during recess
And no more drawing pictures for Neeta’s sister
Also my farewell had been so abrupt, that I was dazed. Real life was definately not like the movies, leaving school in the middle of the school term was not an event, let alone a farewell song, drumroll or sad remorseful faces…. I couldn’t even say good bye to anybody.
Would I ever get to see my friends again? Would my new school really be as nice as it looked?