Sunday, October 20, 2013

WhatsApp – satisfying the 17 year itch!

School is a great incubation unit. A combination of students from diverse culture, financial, social and thinking backgrounds all measured and tempered by the great leveler – Education. School is a time for senseless banter, leg pulling or featherbed of your first crushes as you move towards adolescence and teenage. Of course these are value added experiences in addition to the homework, exams, unit tests, annual exams, oral exams, science exhibitions and many others.

The time you will spend in your life with your school mates – both on and off school hours is the longest you will spend with any other friends you make in your education life and probably professional. The school friendship or comradeship is stronger as all the rivalry, misunderstandings or immature behavior towards one another are long forgotten years down the line and that lays strong foundations for people you can trust, pull leg or crack those silly jokes that only 60 from your classroom can understand.

Thankfully for me-  I have just seen two schools my entire student life between standard one and standard ten (Level 1 to Level 10 of India’s Secondary School Certificate or SSC system). My first school got shut and moved farther away from where I lived by the time I joined Level 3. From the end of Level 3, I along with all other batch mates joined a new school in the suburb I grow up - Mulund (East).  Indian Education Society (IES) (it is also known as King George or Raja Shivaji Vidyalaya) is a conglomerate of educational institutions in Mumbai – spanning school, colleges and even advanced programs like MBA.

The seven years I spent in IES has been the most memorable years for me and many of my batch mates. We were a combination of intellects with a wicked sense of humor having been horrible enough to lock up teachers inside classrooms and being reprimanded for disciplinary reasons! Our terribleness to enthusiastically barge into any lunchbox that was opened during recess with the war cry “Looto” (meaning invade or attack) deprived many of them to not taste their own food!  Paper ball fights in the class were exchanged during lectures with great gusto with the teacher at times getting the wrong one on or near her during class. I don’t know if mischief and immaturity is what we would like to see from our future generations, but when you look back those behaviors and foolish acts is what underlines you’re growing up years spent in school!

The interesting memories from those days is what that still evokes a heartfelt laugh, an age where even a comedy show or facebook photos on PJ’s just makes you give a plastic smile.  The mates in your class are a small segment of the population and people you will meet in your future life. Also the funny, angry, crazy situations and emotions those school days evoke sometimes ends up shaping up what you don’t want to be or what you want to be.  

It’s been 17 years – we finished Level 10/ Standard 10th in 1996 since I had lost touch with lot of my mates. There have been many times when I was inquisitive enough to know what was happening with Mr. A’s life or where is Mr. B post school? But there was no common thread connecting us to chat real time - as facebook and orkut were near real time and not fully real time. Thanks to WhatsApp and initiative from one of our batch mates – we now have a WhatsApp group connecting almost 75% of our classmates spread across the world back in a virtual classroom.  The fun minus the classroom lectures, tiffin breaks continues in this virtual classroom, helping us all get a slice of each other’s lives we have missed the last 17 years and celebrating old memories! The search for other classmates continues with the same fervor and the quest for reunion has now got stronger!

A bunch of diverse professionals - architects, teachers, finance industry experts, lawyers, supply chain experts, business men, aspiring directors, IT Professionals, chefs, engineers and many more are now enriching each other’s life by walking down memory land like never before! Way to go IES Mulund (E) batch of 1996! The group was formed maybe 10 days back, but we all have been abusing our mobiles and checking it so frequently on the updates that very soon we risk being disowned by our family members and maybe our colleagues and bosses! Let us maintain this for our lives!

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