“Tumhe bhookh laga hai, kya?” boomed her voice as the rest of the class was lost in peals of laughter. I, embarrassed, unable to understand most of Ms. Padmashree’s Hindi lecture, just nodded vigorously. She had caught me eating in class, grapes to be precise. My friends had managed to hide it somehow while she’d caught me red-handed. Well, you would think that one incident would be enough to correct a bunch of obnoxious teenagers but honestly, most of our feasts lasted throughout the day.
And whoever could forget all those disastrous experiments during Chemistry practicals? Spurting solutions, broken test tubes, burnt aprons and stained books were just signature things of the Lab. And of course, the chaotic attitude of the rest of my classmates: “Where on earth is that Potassium Ferro cyanide?! Urgh. ”
And all those PT classes we’ve spent hiding behind those buses, trying to obscure ourselves from Ms. Nathan. Needless to say, those attempts failed miserably. And in the end, we were forced to play Basketball or Throwball or at least pretend to run in the court by chasing away pigeons. (In my case, by singing “Ja Kabutar Ja”.)
An atmosphere of lethargy never failed to surround us whenever we had G3 – sigh. The long walk to the Computer Lab, and once we were in, my Lab Partners a.k.a. my Best Friends would be lost in their fascinating world of ‘Sticky Notes’. “Oooh! COLOUR PEN! COLOUR PEN! *scribbles all over the screen*” While Mrs. Rao, on the other hand, continues to talk about arrays in full oblivion.
The world sure does know that Sumedha Biswas has NOTHING to do with Sports. But Sports’ Day? One of the best days of the entire academic year, even if you’re someone like me. Blowing balloons, shiny pom-poms, cheering for the House until our throats are sore, the tuck shops, marching, those colorful drills and all that music. Even through all that uptight competition, nearly everyone manages to have an enormous amount of fun.
Terrorized looks, scary-looking bundles, dreaded periods and analyzing our teachers’ faces while they distribute the papers – all muddled up within that one plagued week after our tests are done. And of course, the thought of facing our parents once we’re home is scarier.
“What are you, the Princess of Adugodi?! Turn around! Hello, I’m talking to you, miss! Yes, YOU!” and finally that extremely lost classmate of mine managed to snap out of her daydream with a dazed look. And that black Santro of Ms. Bhadran’s? Or any black Santro for that matter makes our hands shoot up to check if our hair’s neat and plaited.
And the BEST month of the year – December. Class Picnics, Sing-Along, Bulletin Board Competitions, Class Parties, all revolving around one thing: Christmas. With carols in the air, red and green paper all over the place and decorated trees, Christmas, no matter what, is the most important thing in Baldwins’. Studying is somehow second priority, even among the teachers while all everyone cares about is having fun. We’re just a bunch of merry people, prancing around the place without a care in the world.
And our teachers? Sure, they do yell at us once in a while, laugh around every now and then but in the end, they sure do care, as much as our Mums do probably. And trust me, I’m saying from personal experience. After missing school for two and a half weeks due to typhoid, the teachers chased me down to eat on time, banned me from marching and helped me catch up with the rest of my class. And my worrisome mother finally stopped hyperventilating, much to everyone’s relief.
My point in mentioning all these things is, I love Baldwins’. I didn’t know how else to cramp a nine-year-long experience into one article otherwise. But these are just a few of the million memories that I owe to this place. I started out here as this shy and reserved kid, afraid to talk to anyone. Having just shifted continents or otherwise, I despised the thought of coming to school everyday, everything seemed so different. And here I am, nine years later, much changed. This place has thrown tons of highs and lows at me, but it’s entirely responsible for who I am today. Even though we all stand on the threshold of a new beginning, Baldwins’ is our home and everyone within it is family.
Sure, there won’t be walking through those blue gates every morning, walking past familiar faces and walking through that campus we all know so well. There won’t be chaotic lunches anymore with people dashing through the corridors, greeting everyone in near vicinity or the staff room. We’ll merely be “Ex-Baldwinians” and we’ll just be a part of the enormous amount of people standing on the 1st floor of the Sports’ Pavilion on Sports’ Day from next year. The thought of it all saddens me immensely but Baldwins’ is a place that has given me an identity, taught me lessons in friendship and love and given me friends for a lifetime, I’m just grateful that it all even happened. I’ll surely miss it but at the end of the day, I know this is somewhere I truly belong, ‘cause no matter what, we are all one.
“It’s something unpredictable but in the end is right,
I hope you had the Time Of Your Life.”