It's a chilly winter morning
The types I cannot imagine waking up at six
And getting into a school uniform.
And yet I did exactly so
Ten to twelve years ago
With sleepy eyes, a heavy head, cajoling mum
A hot cup of tea waiting for me
Bag packed by aaji and lunch made my mummy
Off to school after a wait for the public bus.
O what fun it was, hoards of students waiting at the bus stand
At six thirty those frosty mornings, Baba standing beside me
making small jokes, pointing a puppy here or there,
We dreamt big on those cold mornings, we still do.
And then the bus would suddenly come, and I would rush
Leave him behind and shove my way in the crowd
Once inside, wave him a smile again.
He would always wait a few minutes after I left
Lest I would jump back again for want of change,
Or a forgotten book,
Or with a frown say, 'no mood', I want to go back home
He would wait till he was sure I was safely on my way.
I would have by then lost my sleep
And get worried about the rounds of school
for getting late again.
We walked our way from the bus stand to school
and walked the way back, Reni and me.
And got scolded for taking a five rupee rick out of lazyness.
The PT sir would dye his hair once a month
to a startling, dazzling jet black
And everyday he coloured thus, I broke into giggles right on his face
After that running about the school campus,
I would finally slag up to the class.
Friends would smile that fond smile that said, 'Late again!'
I would scamper for a text book
And Reni or Rupal or Sanjana would slide their text towards me
We would push and shove the book on our sides and thus would start a game;
And giggle and talk in whispers and pens till teacher said 'ssshhhhh'
Then after the lunch break, we would get rid of the maroon sweaters
Knot these on the shoulder or the waist
Or simply dump them on the bench and gossip about at length...
Gone are those early mornings of rush that I try to get hold of even now
Those were different winters, this is a different cold...