By Abhirami Sasikumar
The 12th grade exam results are out, and I have entered another phase in life – college.
As I fill admission forms, I can’t believe that my school life is over. I feel both relief and sadness. Relief because I don’t have to get up early in the morning, dress up and run for the bus. I feel like an adult.
But a sense of loss — certain kind of void – tugs at my heart.
I have started missing my school.
It all started on a rainy morning in June, 15 years ago, when Amma took me to the kindergarten — a new world for me. Sree Narayana Public School in Thiruvananthapuram thus became my second home.
I don’t remember much of what happened on my first day in the school. I was just 3.5 years old child all that I remember is the beautiful and smiling face of Sheeja Madam, my LKG (Lower Kindergarten) B class teacher. She was a classmate of my mother’s elder sister.
Thanks to my mom, I had to repeat the first year LKG. Amma found me too tiny and underweight to go to the next class. So, I became a junior to my LKG friends — Aswathy, Adheena, Devu, and Pranav.
My favourite place in the school was a park attached to the kindergarten. It was in my first year that the park installed big shapes made in the form of huge English alphabets. At intervals, we used to play around those shapes. At times, we tried to climb over them, to get scolded by the gardener.
Remya Madam, my class teacher for second year KG, used to change class leaders every hour. Her daughter Adheena Devi, who was in my class, became my close friend. She dragged me to all school programs.
It was in the KG that I learned to treat our non-teaching staff members, such as the aunties in the kitchen and school buses, the same way we respected our teachers. Chandrika aunty, who travelled in my school bus, still tells me that I used to pester her a lot with my naughtiness.
Looking back, I realize that the KG teachers had a special talent to mould young children like me. Some of them, such as Sheeja mam, Shaija mam and Remya mam, are still in touch with me.
Vinitha Madam, my classteacher from grade 1 to IV, taught me maths until the fifth grade. I liked her a lot, so maths became my favourite subject. Even the toughest subject can become easy, if it is taught by our favourite teacher. This is Abhirami’s law of learning.
I was active in sports too, but could never win an item because of Sony, who always walked away with gold. Once Sony couldn’t join the relay and I replace her and bagged the gold for the first time.
Another unforgettable part of school life is the House system. My Sapphire House won all cultural fests and sports meets. Vasanthakumari Madam, a house coordinator, often encouraged us to participate in all events without bothering about the results.
Your classmates have great influence over you. One such influence is my fondness for chapatti and a mixture of peanuts and onions. Prabhul, who too had repeated first year kindergarten, used to bring them to school and share with me.
Until the seventh grade, boys and girls sat in the class together. So, Athul Vidhadaran and Harishankar became my friends. Mixed classes teach you understand the opposite and mingle with them without problems. The experience has helped me understand that the world will not end if a girl talks to a boy or society will collapse if boys and girls worked together.
Once for the science exhibition, Hari, Mahesh, Devika and I made a robot using thermocol, which became a big attraction.
On annual days, I always joined the Western dance team. The practice classes were an excuse for me to bunk classes. My interest in dance began as a child. I used to visit the home of Chitra Thyagarajan, the dance teacher, on Saturdays and Sundays. Pranav, her son, was my classmate.
It was in her house that I saw a violin first time. I wanted to learn violin, but Amma dismissed the plan saying I was too small. Smallness continued to be a problem until I reached high school and began to shoot up. It helped me not only to learn violin, but participate in concerts at different parts with my troupe.
Looking back at school days, who can forget the ride in the school bus?
Karthik and Arjun sat with me and we used to chat on many subjects. The driver — Sasi uncle — used to wait for me to finish my food. I was always late and my mother had run with me with the food so that I could finish it before boarding the bus. Sasi uncle waited for the mother-daughter drama to end.
Study tours are another unforgettable part of school life. A one-day tour to Thenmala brought me close to Arya madam, another favourite teacher. During the trip, the madam and I had a terrible fall as the bus suddenly applied the brake. She consoled me hiding her pain. She took remedial classes in the eighth grade, and we started calling her ‘remedial madam.’
School life has unpleasant memories too.
One incident haunts me still. I was in the ninth grade and our gang — Mahima, Amartya ,Smriti and I — used talk a lot during the chemistry period. But unfortunately I was the only person caught. So I decided to remain quiet in her hour. One day the chemistry teacher asked me why was I inactive in her class. She complained to my classteacher, who asked me and my mother to meet the chemistry teacher.
This made me sad and I burst into tears, as my only intention was to not trouble the teacher.But when I came to know that my silence hurt her, I felt depressed.
Another memorable experience is our house-wise Onam celebration in the school.
After the tenth exam, which all of us finished in flying colours, I wanted to join another school. But I failed the interview in St. Thomas. So, I had to continue at the same school.
The two years of my higher secondary days have taught me many valuable lessons in life regarding friendship. I had many ups and downs. I sincerely thank Ahila madam, Srikala madam, and Deepthi madam helping me go through the tough phase and healing me.
I became sad and happy as I was ending the 12th grade. I was doing my practicals part of the final exams when I heard that Srikala Madam was the principal. For a long time, she was our vice principal, who was very close to all of us. I was sad because I will miss her as a principal, happy because she was getting what was overdue to her.
After the school final and almost 13 years, I rejoined Chitra teacher’s class – this time for violin. On May 15 this year, I attended a concert at Attukal Temple with her. I had stage fright but my guru’s happy face helped the fear and tension vanish.
Chitra teacher is SN’s gift to me and SN is God’s blessing on me. I thank Him for allowing me to study in this school.
I have so many memories of the SN days, but it will take volumes to write them all. The school gave me great teachers, great memories and great lessons for life.
And college – here I come to learn more lessons.