We did not know the meaning of this word nineteen years back when we were seated in the Fifth Standard class room of our school. There were ten boys in a class of fifty. That was the last year the school had co-education.
We had our first ever farewell party, at the age of nine in the school playground. The forty of us bade a definitely not tearful farewell to all the ten boys in our class, the first ten boys in our academic life.We had dances, plays and games and some speech by the teachers and the principal; all of which was just fun for all of us. We never realized that we might miss these boys around, the next year. Well, the whole idea of farewell party in itself didnt sink in back then, and friendship never meant anything at all. Everyone who studied with you, who was nice to you, was a friend!!!
The next five years went on in the school routine, the only difference we felt in Class Six, was that all of us were girls and it was different fun. We never had to be punished in front of boys, and for some unknown reason, it felt better than the previous years, when taking punishments in front of boys made us feel very uncomfortable. Girls and our egos :)
In our higher secondary classes, we had an All School Level Science Exhibition when some of the boys from our batch had come over to exhibit their science projects. That's when the thought of the first fare well came back to our minds and we started wondering where our batch mates were. We were still wondering and hoping to meet one or two of them in our engineering counselling sessions, or college admission days, but that never happened.
Thanks to Internet, finally after about 14 plus years one of my friends found me on Names database. Then we slowly built the network. We( Two of us, girls) have now, after nineteen years managed to find about four boys from our old batch; now, holding very responsible positions in their professionl and personal lives.
Every time we find a friend, we had managed to meet him/her with the rest of the clan. Today was one such meeting. Today, I was relatively silent because of a bad throat and true to the saying; Silence lets you observe a lot, I did get a chance to reflect quite a bit on the old school friendship.
I noticed that a lot has changed for all of us over the last nineteen years in our lives, yet, the one common thread that connected us, was the school room back in Grade five. We did think of our Grade Five teacher and wished we had her contact number. We did not know anything about anyone else's lives all these years, still, no one had any reservations in saying what they would otherwise keep from a new friend. We never had any friendship day celebrations, or treats, or college movies together, or boring lecture classes, or long phone calls; still it was easy to spend an hour talking general sense and non-sense.
I have always believed that friendships happen, but never really thought about the fact that friendship is around all the time and it can go unnoticed. Now, this friendship may not be the same as the ones we made in our school and college and work lives and neighbourhood, but definitely is very different and has its own special place in our record of life.
I never bragged about it all these days, and today, I've published it on World Wide Web!!! :) Its a great feeling.
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