Thursday, December 01, 2005

The 1st of December

I remember, I remember
 The fir trees dark and high; 
I used to think their slender tops 
 Were close against the sky: 
It was a childish ignorance; 
 But now 'tis little joy
To know I'm farther off from heaven 
 Than when I was a boy.
               -T. Hood

The 1st of December was when school closed for the winter vacations. The onerous final exams (The Third Term as we would call it) would meet its painful death on that fortunate day. The exact moment of the demise would be 11:30 AM. After Bro. G. would very carefully explain the winter night sky to a rather uninterested, ungrateful and impatient lot, we would hurriedly collect our pencils, rubbers ( I still call them the politically incorrect rubber because that is what I grew up calling those things which are called erasers these days ) and pinecone battered clipboards and run out into the warm december sunshine. I use the word run very carelessly. That annual phenomenon could be more accurately termed as a mass movement for the great, wide, open spaces. Whereas bland souls like me would employ conventional modes of transport to get going, the more adventurous ones would employ rapid dashes, wildly flailing arms and loud screaming. The stairs would be navigated by sliding down the bright orange balustrade.

We were free for the next 100 days !

I would feel an incredible sense of lightness I remember. I would feel relieved from all burdens. Burdens were not possible anymore. There would be a sense of accomplishment without any palpable victory. As we would chatter down the steps past the old hospital block and past the second field, we were happy.

Old habits die hard. Till today, on the 1st of december, I keep very careful track of time. At about 11:30 AM, I know there are a bunch of unruly boys running out of the exam halls. It still brings a smile on my face.

I however have not felt the same lightness in years and years now.

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