The first day of school. Any other year, it would’ve been no big deal. But this is first grade we’re talking about – and I was the new kid. I remember the class teacher walking in, with a smile that could light up 7 moons; and beginning the class by asking us what we wanted to be when we grew up – a question, I have found, that grows in complexity with age.
The first day of school in first grade is the first thing that comes to mind when I think about my early days in school. The scrawny little guy who got up to answer the fateful question is the rightful reason for this.Everyone was saying things one would expect any normal kid to say at that age – Astronaut, Doctor, Cricketer,etc. But then, there was this guy.
“What do you want to do when you grow up, Harsh?”
“Ma’am, I want to go to 12th grade.”
We all laughed then, even him, not realizing that this was perhaps the smartest and the most realistic response we had heard yet. Interestingly enough, that isn’t the reason I remember that day either.
“I’ll tie you to a rocket and blast you off to 12 grade right now”, the teacher said teasingly.
I remember imagining him – tied to a rocket in the courtyard,like a scene straight out of Tom & Jerry, taking off and crashing into a 12th grade classroom at the top-most floor of our school. No one can imagine my disappointment, a few years later, when I found out that the 12th grade classes were on the floor below us.
Now, 10 years later, I waved that scrawny little guy along with many others, a final good-bye. 10th grade is a kind of mini-graduation, where we choose our streams – science, commerce, arts, etc. Some choose to follow a different board of education altogether. This meant that around half the people in our grade would leave, perhaps never to be seen again.
People leave. That’s what they tend to do. But in doing so, they leave behind something far more firm and permanent – memories. From spoofs of English lessons to bunking classes to jam in the music room; From intense pun fests to casual lunch break brawls; From imitating teachers to being horrible at basketball.
“The only reason people hold on to memories so tight is because they are the only things that don’t change, when everything else does.”
We’ve all heard myths and fables growing up. Bed time stories to rid us of the fear of monsters under our beds; fascinating stories of bravery, courage and glorious deeds. Heroes. Legends. What are legends? Are they not stories that remind us of people who made this world a better place? Are they not tales of people who have inspired millions and instilled values that have made them better people? Are they not memories of people who made a difference?
In these 10 years, the people who left have been all this to me and much,much more. You have inspired me. You have made me a better person. You have helped me become what I am today, and will inspire me to be more in the future. In doing so, you have made my world a better place. You. Are Legend.