The road to attending offline school as a secondary section student… Continued

By Medini Padoshi

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The chirping of birds fell on my ears trying to wake me up from my deep sleep. I looked outside the window. It was still pitch dark. For a moment I thought of going back to sleep. Then it dawned upon me that it was the day I was waiting for…. the first day of my offline schooling after a gap of two years.

All the lethargy vanished in thin air. I quickly got up and sprung into action…. to get ready for my school. I said my goodbyes to my bewildered parents( my excitement level for going to school was their reason for bewilderment) and rushed for the lift.

It felt like eternity for the lift to come from the ground floor to the seventh floor. I finally exited the lift and reached the bus pick up point. I was the first one to arrive. Soon, my friends joined me. We all were grinning from ear to ear. Our eyes shone with the same excitement of attending offline school. We started our talks and soon were engrossed in discussing what we would do upon reaching the school.

The loud honking of our school bus stopped our chit chat. It was a great feeling to meet everyone after a gap of two years. The constant pleas of our bus supervisor to maintain some level of decorum in the bus fell on deaf ears. We all were chatting, yelling and celebrating as our bus was nearing our school.

On our way we had to cross a busy highway and we could see a long queue of vehicles on both sides of the highway. It was an ominous sign. My mind was filled with all kinds of thoughts. What if we are stuck for the whole day? What if we miss school altogether? I voiced my opinion and realized that all were in panic mode. Our bus supervisor went down to enquire. It was just a normal traffic signal jam. We all heaved a sigh of relief. The two years of Corona break had made us forget about our Mumbai traffic. Guess, we were back to offline life.

On our side of the road, the traffic moved at a snail’s pace. Finally, we took the right turn towards our school. I had goosebumps and a sea of questions. Would the school building have changed? Would it be painted new to welcome us after two years? Would we meet the same Security uncles from two years ago, who were our good friends? Which teachers would be waiting to welcome us? Which staircase would we take to go to the 4th floor – the one near the canteen or the one near the labs?

I was so lost in my thoughts that I didn’t realise the bus halted. We were asked to get down in a line. I came out of my thoughts when my friends literally pushed me! ( Thank God! I didn’t fall and embarrass myself. So much for besties).

I was greeted by the sight of the familiar school gate and the smiling faces of our Security uncles. The building was much the same, only painted fresh. It too seemed to welcome me to the secondary section. We reached the porch. A few teachers stood at short distances to guide us to our respective rooms. There were many familiar faces. I was ecstatic to see all my teachers. My joy knew no bounds on seeing my favourite teacher Seema Miss. I just ran towards her but was stopped as I was breaking the queue. Nothing had changed. The school rules were the same( reality was slowly making its presence known to me!).

I was mildly scolded by our P.T. teacher for setting a bad example for my juniors by not following the rules. It dawned on me that I had to be a responsible senior. Being a senior was not fun alone. I just waved at my favourite teacher and proceeded in the line. The aroma of different snacks welcomed me as I passed from the nearby staircase. Oh! It was so fun to be back. I had a bounce in my steps as I climbed the hallowed stairs and reached the fourth floor corridor.

Finally, the moment had arrived! I was at a place that I had dreamt for so long. I looked at the class names and right in front of me I saw the board 7H – my class. With excitement I took further steps. As I was walking, I heard the murmur of juniors praising our classrooms as to how big they were, how beautiful they looked and I couldn’t agree more. The other thing that struck me was the adoration in the juniors’ eyes for us seniors. They looked at us like we were their saviours. Oh! What a great feeling it was!! With my head held high I joined my other batchmates.

It was surreal to be in offline learning mode again. The whiteboard, the display corner, the small benches – I missed those. Being able to chit chat with my friends face to face and not through a screen brought a different level of happiness.We were getting used to the atmosphere when our class teacher entered the class.She too was happy to see us after two years. She congratulated us on becoming the senior batch. She had a detailed interaction with us of our duties and responsibilities as representatives of our school and as mentors of our junior batchmates.

The reiteration of us being allowed to visit the canteen twice a week, using the lab facility and access to more sports equipment as compared to primary sections was music to my ears. As we started the sessions all of us got engrossed in studies.

Lunchtime was a whole different atmosphere. We thoroughly enjoyed each other’s tiffins that we could not do in online mode. Pranking each other and studying hard, the school was over.

The day I had been waiting for so eagerly was over and I couldn’t be happier. Now this was going to be my daily life and I looked forward to it. The increased studies, additional responsibilities as seniors, more curricular activities and sports, oh! the list seemed so welcoming. I headed toward the school bus with happiness and content for my dream was realised just the way I had dreamt it.

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