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RETROVAILLES

Meaning - The joy of meeting or finding someone again especially after a long separation; a rediscovery


The drizzle on a sunny day driving back to our adopted homes harbouring mixed feelings in my heart. An invitation from the place I grew up and with the people I treasure the most in this world where finding enemies is easier than friends. Bangalore to Bombay was expensive with practically enough money to make a round trip but why do we make money if not to live for such moments. I had to do what needs to be done. Go. I emptied my bank account and booked the last flight to make it to the event. Funny enough I missed the bus to Bangalore airport and had to chase it for 10 kilometres on a TVS scooty before I could get aboard. I relaxed onto the last chair of the bus and slipped into a deep sleep for I know the journey is too far and long.


Getting into a school is a mean task. Apparently I was rejected by a top school just because I stammered which I honestly do to this day and my parents didn't have a business background. I don't mind that. Their bad luck to say the least to miss out on such awesome alumni but some other school did get lucky or should I say we were destined. I enrolled in an ICSE school in 1st standard/grade. The school was far. I came by bus and saw myself standing in front of the gates. I held my head high and read the name in bold words of a place that will become a great ten years of my life. "Ryan International School".


The bus jerked as I slowly opened my eyes waking up from a familiar past as I watched the Kempegowda international airport from distance. It is a stunning airport especially at night when the beautiful ensemble of light brightens up the surrounding dark. I had a lot of time before I could board the plane to Mumbai. I had light snacks at Chai point which is at the edge of the airport sipping hot steaming ginger lemon tea and savouring on India's national noodles Maggi. It would be no less a confession that Maggi supported me in times where not even a Human could.


Breakfast and lunchbox designs always used to fascinate me. Opening up of multiple compartment pencil box thinking it to be a warship blasting everyone in space, making pen fights for the bragging rights, playing box cricket with a chalk and book, having to race in the corridors only for the student council or worse teachers to catch hold of us, bunking the boring classes, hiding in the toilets, bursting crackers in school premises, dancing in front of CCTV cameras which I guess were dummies, decorating the outside walls, planning to beg other teachers for P.E. or negotiate with teacher so that there can be two consecutive P.E. period, romancing our classmates or better romancing our seniors, attending morning assembly and singing our hearts out to our anthem, "Cheer Children Cheer". I believe the Ryanites must have completed the rest of the anthem in their minds already. These are not only my memories. These are shared with us all.


After 5 hours of waiting, the announcement to board the flight finally happened. I stepped into the vehicle in the early hours of Saturday morning which would fly me to the place I call home.


There are four houses in the school. Red, Blue, Green and Yellow. They were like the four houses of Hogwarts always fighting for the best house of the year. It was always a two-horse competition. Red and Blue fought for the cup and Green and Yellow fought for what was remaining. The sense of competition is instilled from the beginning. This was no fairy tale ride. It was brutal requiring intense planning, discussions and risk-taking something which we see in the corporate world. It was not always war. Love was in the air. The childhood sweethearts, the soul mates, the popular power couple, unbearable ones, stupid that makes no sense couple and couples you would like to throw upon. We had it all.


The fresh air of the coast hits my drowsy face as I get out of Mumbai airport and book a cab for my house. The running landscape of window reminds so much about the trips we had together to water parks, zoo, tree plantation and graduation camp. They were really fun.


I reach my house and get ready. I walk towards my house as I did when I was a child. This time it was sweeter than ever before. I reached those not so massive gates standing in front of it like a bearded man. The faces of my tormentors at time welcoming us wholeheartedly as if their own child had come to visit them after a long period of absence. The kids around the block hand in hand running carefree have finally come of age. The bond forged in this castle has survived the test of time. They might have weakened but not broken. They might have worn off but not broken. They might have loosened but not broken. The grotesque appearances of puberty had given way for beautiful lovely faces adorned with huge smiles and moist eyes with everyone embracing and hugging each other believing momentarily that they have travelled to a forgotten past. The feeling of warmth emanating throughout the castle guarded by the strong forts of our affection making us forget the world reality. I see them as they walked into the school again like we used to. The heart beats a tune reminiscent of a place I have yearned for so long. Retrovailles. I am back home.

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