My large 3 storey house stood facing the Main Street. It was flanked on the opposite diagonal right by St. Joseph’s Boys’ School and on the left by St. Joseph’s Girls School. Behind our house but, about 350 meters behind, stood Sri Gujarathi Vidyalaya School which was accessible by the adjacent lane. All three schools were visible from my terrace. It was a joy to watch students in different coloured uniforms walk in and out of school in gangs at 9.00AM and 4.00 PM.
Chattering, laughing, swinging their water bottles, pushing shoving, slapping each other’s backs the Boy’s school students were loud, raucous and moved with an obvious swag.
The girls from Girl’s school or Convent school as was popularly known, on the other hand, shy, moved with giggles, yet, nose in the air attitude to counter the swag of the boys. And they subconsciously moved by the side of the road, almost pressing themselves into a narrow space line giving more road access to boys.
One could easily decipher the nervous excitement in boys/girls as they crossed each other too close to each other. A look, an exchange of sideways glances, a shove from a friend at that juncture and erupted laughter after the cross. It fascinated me. The unfolding of initial attraction, the symbolic awareness of each other; the mirrored interest, the heart beat moment, that freeze of time. Everything. Till that shove that moved them on.
There’s something magical in the moments of first bloom of youth. The slow, enchanting unfolding, awakening of each layers of youthful dreams, aspirations, expectations, awareness, that delirious feeling of being on the precipice before take off into the abyss of valley to soar high. Amongst those stirrings, these encounters are like jewels. Those shy smiles, those giggles. Those swags. Those radiant dawns of youth.
Even today, whenever, I go to my home; my parental home I stand in the balcony and watch the students. From Girls’ High School and Boys’ High School. I smile to myself, as I see the same scene unfold before me. That coy smile, that swag, that giggle, that look, that shove..
Ah yes! You must be wondering but, what about Gujarati School students? Well, you see that school was a co-education institute. So, there never were those moments. Here all were student fraternity absolutely comfortable with each other.
– By Kalpana –