There we sat, in the well-lit, air-conditioned 'multipurpose' hall, scanning the row of grown-ups seated along the sides. Having nothing else to do, we commenced our murmured comments and giggles over their outfits. They must've been in their late thirties, and they made a good enough first impression; there was this probably-beauty-conscious-straight-haired lady, the one in jeans and a funky top who looked too young to be among them, the one with bobbed hair and a Kiran Bedi face cut, the one who came with her little daughter and was pre-ocuppied trying to keep her steady, and then there were the men...all in their formal shirts and pants, which didn't seem quite as interesting (sadly).
We were busy picking out our favourites when the Kiran Bedi look-alike approached us. "Hey guys, so what are you expecting from us?" Funny she should ask that, since we hadn't any clue about who they were until we'd entered the hall. We were held captive in our classrooms for months at end, exhausted by textbooks and question papers, and at this time, whenever a certain somebody visited school we had our fingers crossed for a 'seminar' from the visitor…anything for a break from regular classes! And at such a time, when a dozen or more people arrive at once to talk with us, you can imagine our euphoria! So when they asked us about our expectations, honestly, we had none. Even if it was going to be a lame lecture, it would still be worth the time away from the frustrating heap of school books. We were cool with whatever we could get.
But this was no lame lecture, or any one of those serious personality development or career guidance seminars we had in the past. This was some crazy group of adults acting like kids- grinning, waving, and expecting us to tell them what we expected from them. This was a group who could relate with us, who could see a lot of themselves in us. This was us twenty years from now.
Yes, they were the 'products' of our own school, now scattered and leading their own independent lives. And thankfully enough, they weren't a mere bunch of toppers here to tell us about their success. They were a mixture of all the categories that a classroom consisted- the average, the idle, the dreamers, the toppers, and the backbenchers alike, all here to tell us about their success.
We waited for them to speak, and discovered that they'd come with only as much preparation we did...close to none. There, we already had something in common! So, what followed was a spur of the moment thing, when Miss Kiran Bedi look-alike took over the mike and started introducing her old mates, with bits and pieces of nostalgia. And who would've imagined her to turn out to be a freaky styled cool dude! That crooked smile on her face when she teased her fellow batch mates, and the gesticulations arising from them in response!
One by one they interrupted every pause, filling in with their own experiences, with their timely advices and more importantly, assurances. There wasn't anybody who needed it more than we did! Three months to go and we're going to be christened the same as them - 'Alumni'. There is this dubiousness that never leaves the back of our minds...will we be able to make it? Will we reach where we're meant to be? Oh well, where were we meant to be ?
They told us about how vast a world it is out there, and how this stage of our lives seems petty. But the truth is that whatever's ahead of us is moulded by this very stage. They told us to broaden our horizon, to not sit and whine when one door closes, because that is when many other doors open. We need only just look around, and this they knew from experience.
However stupid our decisions may be today, it has to be made. Because making mistakes now and understanding them is the beginning of growth, and this is what essentially shapes our future. So for now, all we need to worry about is to take care not to halt. Begin the journey, and the rest will be taken care of.
For once, after a very long time, relief swept over us. In their presence, we were floating in bliss. We watched them as they continued to cackle and pull each other's legs. Were they always this kind of happy-go-lucky, fun people? Or was it just a result of a ride back to school memories? I'd like to believe that this is what life would make us eventually, especially for the 'products' of our own school!
Time was up, and our dear super-seniors rose to bid us goodbye. Coming over to where we sat on the floor, they began talking to us all at once. They were like those parents giving last minute instructions to their children leaving for a long journey. The situation here was more or less the same. And we sat there nodding away like obedient kids.
And here we are now, nearing the close...or perhaps the beginning. It's 2016, a special year to us, which it must be to every one of you too in plenty of other ways. In no time we're going to break open our cocoons, and get our wings ready for flight. Before the takeoff, here's a big thank you to our alumni for that special day back in 2015, for being such an amazing inspiration. And here's another one to our school for all that we've become because of it.
Like each one of them did, we're going to script a success story of our own too. And ten years from today, we shall be back to #SpreadTheVibe ! That is our promise.