How often has it occurred to you; while having a coffee, while walking beside a lake or through a paddy field, while enjoying a silent sunset; that you start wondering about your past, when you feel like your past reflecting upon you, right there!
I do. I often get this feeling. The past 21 years of my life, it always appear before me as two distinct halves. First, there is the first ten years of my life, when all I can remember about is that of a guy, a shy kid who for most of the times rebelled when it came to staying away from his mother, his parents. Somewhere around the age of 8, I must have started to change, or I wouldn’t have been so happy and jubilant when I came to know that I had gotten entrance to Sainik School at a tender age of 10, into class 6, more than 300 miles away from my hometown.
The turn of the millennium marks the beginning of the 2nd part of my life, the more colorful one, the more happening & eventful one. As my past reflects itself, I may have been a crying-baby at times till say, age 6 or 8, but then there was this change and I haven’t cried since 10, never have I wetted my eyebrows. Well, for the same reason, my close friends at the end of 7 years of school life refers to me as an emotion-less guy; one who never got sentimental. They still do, and throwing out any emotions other than joy, I must admit is a bit of a foreign land for me.
Every one of the 7 years at Kazhakoottam was one of its own kind. Early morning wake up calls at 5.30 in the 6th standard, at the age of 10, and all I used to think was I shouldn’t have chosen to come here, and I could’ve been sleeping to the comforts of my bed at home. The numerous rounds around the parade ground, the strict P.T and the hard punishments that followed so early in the dawn at times reminded me that I always had a choice, that I could quit Sainik and go back to Palakkad any time I wanted. It may have been the inspiration from quotes like “Winners never Quit, Quitters never win” on placards all around the campus, it may have been the fear of telling my father that I can’t adjust to the strictness and hardships anymore, but I guess it was the sheer ego of me being a cool guy who wouldn’t flutter under any hardships, that took me forward in those hard initial years. The other consolation was of course the faces of my classmates, who are all far away from their homes just like me. I shall never forget the fun & horrendous days I spent with them, the people whom I grew up with.
I used to initially consider Sainik School as a huge mountain, a Mount Everest perhaps. Thousands of people try their hands and luck climbing it, but only a few tough and courageous ones make it at the end. I always take pride from the fact that of those 1000’s who wrote the entrance exam from Palakkad District, I was the only guy who made it to Sainik School in my batch. The thought of me climbing the rest of the mountain, and passing out one day just like all those respected seniors before us, it actually never crossed my mind in initial years. But as truth shall have it, one fine day in 2000 I was buying my uniforms, my first hockey stick, my black and white shoes and my big black trunk box from Trivandrum with my parents. Few moments pass, come another evening and I was at Trivandrum bus station with a bunch of suitcases & airbags waiting for a bus back home late in the evening all alone, and I was leaving a city which had been my home for the past 7 years, as simple as that.
… ‘Farewell to Dons 2k7’. Our ceremonial Dining Out at school mess in march 2007…
One thing, one lesson I had learnt at kazhakoottam is that men, people unite the most and best in troubled times. True unity comes not in happier hay days, but in the times of horror and sereneness.
The six months out of Sainik School was the weirdest days of my life. I had gotten a decent rank in state engineering exam, I had almost gotten through an exam and interview for merchant navy. That was when as if joking, my father asked me if I wanted to go to china to do Mechatronics. In a few days, mechatronics changing to aeronautical engineering was one of the few changes that happened, but I had decided in my heart that Nanjing was going to my home for the next four years, a city I hadn’t even heard of ever before. Questions were asked, stiff opposition persisted from relations and many other known people, but none of that wavered my thoughts one single bit.
With a seat booked at my current college in Nanjing I was bored to hell in the months of July, August & September. If not for my admission to Nanjing, these months would’ve been the most tensed ones filled with counseling's and admission procedures to the college according to state ranking. But I had already booked my place and had nothing better to do, as I mentioned. I tried my hand at learning Chinese by bits, but failed terribly. Those were the days when I became addicted to computer, internet and the then new social networking craze, Orkut. I began my life in cyber space during those days and that addiction to internet and social networking sites continue to date, and have made some marks in my life, which may very well remain un-erasable.
Just like the Mount Everest at Sainik School, I am about to reach the summit of another peak in a couple of months. The journey from that peak will be a hell lot different one. For the first time in my life since a few months after my 3rd b’day, I will not be a student going to learn anymore. The backpack which once was filled with books and tiffin boxes to school will now be replaced with great hopes about a life to follow and the pressures of finding a suitable job first hand. I’ve always thought till a few months ago that school and college days are going to be the days of pressure, which once completed opens out your flood gates to an eternity of life which is to be casually lived, enjoyed. But I now feel that my days of life & enjoyment may have already come to a halt, and in a few months from now, I will also be pushed deep into the real darkness of life; the pressure cooker situation of deadlines & compromises and what not?
Now I feel how true the term Reflection is, for life is always a reflection of your past and your future, with the you of present being the still water in the lakes or the shining mirror in the wall.